21 Days of Kindness #BeKind21

Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation recently announced the launch of its second annual 21 Days to Be Kind Challenge. The challenge encourages young people, families, employers, teachers, and community members to build habits that foster kindness and promote the strength and wellness of their communities.

Inspired by the idea that habits are formed by repeating an activity for 21 consecutive days, the campaign calls on participants to practice an act of kindness each day from September 1st to September 21st. Culminating on the U.N. International Day of Peace, the challenge invites schools and colleges to kick off the new school year by establishing kinder habits, and for corporate partners, nonprofit partners, and all other participants to head into the fall with a spirit of compassion and kindness across their organizations and in their communities.

Individuals who take the pledge and share their experience on social media using the hashtag #BeKind21 will be entered to win two tickets to an upcoming Lady Gaga show and various other prizes.

“The #BeKind21 campaign is an initiative that Lifeway fully supports as part of our mission, because we know it takes guts to spread kindness,” said Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky. “We believe in the power of radical change through thoughtful, deliberate acts of positivity to ourselves and others. Scientifically supported research shows that performing acts of kindness can release oxytocin, the hormone that boosts your mood and makes you feel loved. In the effort to build a happier, healthier world, we encourage our community to participate, amplify and lift up #BeKind21 this September.”

From left to right: Julie Smolyansky (CEO of Lifeway Foods, Inc.), Cynthia Germanotta (Lady Gaga’s mother and co-founder of BTWF), Maya Enista Smith (Executive Director of BTWF), Misha Burdeen, and Leah Burdeen.

Open Books for Chicago Kids

Beginning September 1st, we kicked off our 21 days of kindness with a book drive. We decided to partner with Open Books, located in Chicago’s West Loop, because they strive to inspire tens of thousands of readers each year through their book grants and literacy programs. Their mission of kindness matched what we are hoping to achieve in our kindness campaign. The book drive aims to inspire tenants and guests in our office building to drop off their gently used books at the Open Books donation box on WeWork’s 17th floor at 20 West Kinzie in Chicago, IL from now until September 21st. Once the drive comes to a close, we’ll give all the book donations to children attending Chicago public schools.

Puppy Playdate

At Lifeway, we’re all about improving mental and physical health. Whether it’s by getting your daily dose of probiotics or participating in a relaxing activity, we’re always looking for ways to boost everyone’s mood. Studies show that dogs have a calming and relaxing presence on people because the bonding experience causes oxytocin levels to increase. This gave us the idea to host a Puppy Playdate in our building. Dog owners can bring their pup to play with the other dogs in the office and tenants who don’t have a dog can play with the dogs as well – everyone leaves happy! The Puppy Playdate will be Wednesday, September 18 from 12-2pm on WeWork’s 17th floor at 20 West Kinzie in Chicago, IL.

Participants are encouraged to bring a dog or cat toy, blanket, or treats to donate to the animals at the Anti-Cruelty Society. Pets give us so much, so it’s only right that we give back to some animals in need. We’re excited to personally deliver all of the donations to the animals after the conclusion of our puppy playdate. Having a chance to see the animals and understand how our kindness affects the animal’s lives and wellbeing will be a great way to end our campaign.

Get Involved, Be Kind

In addition to donation drives for pets and books for kids, we’re committing to participating in daily acts of kindness and self-care. Below are some ideas:

September 1: Practice self-care with a kefir face mask.

September 2: Reflect on the holiday and be grateful for a day off of work.

September 3: Meditate for 10 minutes before the work commute.

September 4: Sleep for an extra hour.

September 5: Write a sticky note of gratitude to your coworker for their help on a project and leave it on their computer.

September 6: Start a meaningful conversation with your coworkers by asking them what their plans are for the weekend.

September 7: Workout for a half hour. Taking care of your body is being kind to your body.

September 8: Celebrate Grandparents Day by calling your Grandparents and telling them how much they mean to you.

September 9: Smile at a stranger walking down the street.

September 10: Compliment a coworker on a job well done.

September 11: Take a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives 18 years ago.

September 12: Pack yourself your favorite snack for work.

September 13: Go on a coffee date with your friend and pay for their cup of joe.

September 14: Pick up a piece of litter off the ground and throw it in the garbage.

September 15: Call a relative that lives out-of-state to tell them you love them.

September 16: Bring a healthy snack to share with coworkers.

September 17: Pack eco-friendly utensils in your lunch instead of plastic utensils.

September 18: Take your meeting outside and enjoy a walk with coworkers.

September 19: Read a chapter from your favorite book.

September 20: Practice yoga to stretch out and calm the body.

September 21: Donate a few pieces of clothes to the local shelter.

Kindness Counts

Our goal is to inspire everyone who participates in our #BeKind21 kindness campaign. We hope our kindness starts a domino effect so that participants will want to start a kindness journey of their own. Even the smallest acts of kindness make a huge impact on someone’s life. Knowing that someone who is experiencing anxiety is able to relieve their stress by petting one of the dogs at the Puppy Playdate, a dog at the Anti-Cruelty Society now has a blanket to cuddle with, or a child has a new book to read and learn from makes the campaign worth it. We want our kindness to make a difference in our lives and in others. Seeing the campaign’s positive impacts makes us want to continue our kindness journey well beyond the campaign.

Follow our #BeKind21 days of kindness on @LifewayKefir‘s Instagram stories for affirmations, quotes, and updates on our kindness journey!