“Find your WHY, what lights you up, gets you out of bed in the morning and do that! Every day! In every way! Share it with the world”, says Laura Waldorf Reiss, Founder and Chief Kindness Officer for the Kindness Matters 365 Foundation. It is a Florida-based not-for-profit organization that educates the children about being kind to themselves, each other and giving back where they could. The world needs every shred of kindness that one can offer. It blooms when you instill the emotion in a human being from an early age. Laura Waldorf Reiss saw the need to teach the children kindness and the importance of compassion and gratitude.
Reiss was raised well. Growing up, her parents taught her the significance of being grateful for whatever she had and being compassionate, mindful of others, and also kind. They not only taught her this but also followed this philosophy all their life. Laura believes in a world where people support and celebrate each other. With a passion for kindness and the betterment of the world, in 2008 she started the first kindness program at Sunrise Park Elementary in Boca Raton, FL. That where her children used to go to school. It was a free after-school club where she talked about compassion and gratitude to the children. What started as a single club has now turned into a whole Kindness Foundation.
Talking more about her organization, she says. “Through extraordinary programs nourished with Gratitude, Compassion, and Kindness, Kindness Matters 365 equips kids and teens with knowledge and skills for their social and emotional well-being. KM365 provides one of a kind programming rooted in social & emotional learning (SEL). Children and teens are learning the tools they need to powerfully navigate life with our Kindness Curriculum…..We are providing education to young developing minds to help them be resilient, compassionate, and responsible; creating kind leaders of the future”. Starting with school clubs, the foundation is now online with the Kindness Online Anywhere Program. Laura and her team are trying to instill kindness in the new generation. They want the world to be filled with kind-minded individuals.
The positive customer response towards the foundation is evident in the awards and recognition she has received over the years. Laura is elated with the response and happy to know that she is doing her bit to give back to the world. She is thriving for ‘Global Kindness’ with 500 trained kindness ambassadors, over 100 programs that are currently running in 12 states in the country.
Laura and her foundation face challenges related to fundraising. She notes that many people find it difficult to understand the time, work, and money required to make the world a kinder place. As KMF365 is a countrywide program now, it requires capital and support from the community to keep thriving. She says, “We have collected and distributed over $2,000,000 in goods, supported over 46,900 individuals, raised $4 million in disaster relief, reported over 750,000 community service hours and impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people of all ages, religion, color, political views, gender, and socio-economic backgrounds”. Kindness doesn’t differentiate and neither should we. Laura stresses on the importance of patience. According to her, it takes time to teach the importance of kindness, lay the groundwork, and inspire young minds. But she believes that it is difficult to wait now, only to have to wait for the celebration later.
Addressing the women entrepreneurs of tomorrow, she says- “Anything is possible! You don’t have to know everything about everything. You do what you’re good at, what calls to you, what lights you up, and surround yourself with others that can contribute by being good at what they excel in. Exceptional takes time, keep going”.