"You Matter" Kindness Project

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Alaya and I met at an especially difficult time in my life, and her kindness and beauty impacted me (probably more than she realized!). Alaya and her daughter, Annie, have made it their mission to leave notes of Kindness in creative and unique ways. Learn a little more about Alaya, and the "why" behind her incredible project! 

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"I’m a born and raised Minnesotan! I have a great love and appreciation for family who become friends and friends who become family. I believe in integrity. I believe in making the most out of every day and keep movin’ forward no matter what is put in my path. I believe in keeping life simple and keeping it real. I believe in karma. And I believe in mermaids. If I could shout from a mountain top for all to hear, I’d say: “Keep movin’ forward! You got this! Storms don’t last forever! Keep your chin up! You’re doing great!”. I truly believe life is all about connections and helping those around you along their way. I believe kindness can change our world. I believe in good. I believe in you. I believe in me.  
Kindness By Annie and Her Mom, You Matter, was created when Annie was age 4. After spending 10 non-cumulative months in treatment, I finally learned I was important. During my last stay at the Anna Westin House I had a personal revelation…If I am just now learning I matter, then there must be others out there who are or have struggled with this as well. From here, I began chalking the semi-famous Stillwater stairs (if you google Stillwater Stairs and click on images, you’ll see my chalkings!) When we go chalking we always stop at Tremblay’s Candy Shop for a licorice strings and sour gummy sharks. She sits 5 or 7 steps up from me and I write what comes to her mind. We never plan out word for word what we are going to write. She sits at the top of the stairs and holler “what should I write next?” and she hollers back “be kind” or “love others” or “chase rainbows”. When I chalk solo, I sit quietly and listen for what I should write. Sometimes the phrases flow and make sense, other times they seem a bit choppy. I’ve learned to stop judging my thought process and trust it instead. Listening to your heart and soul is a good way to move forward. 
We mail out Kindness Starter Kits with a donation to our kindness movement. We create our own Kindness Cards and bookmarks. We leave bookmarks in free little book libraries all around town. Being a UPS driver, I carry our bookmarks with us and when I find a free book library, I try to stop and leave a few bookmarks in there. We paint rocks (we painted rocks before it was “cool” to paint rocks!) and write You Matter on the bottom. We hide small toys at little kid eye level throughout Stillwater for little ones to find. Our mission is to show others kindness is easy and anyone can do it." -Alaya 

Read more about Alaya and Annie in this Pioneer Press Article! Watch the a This Video made by District 834, and read this Twin Cities news segment HERE