World Kindness Day

By Kealiʻi Rapozo
Graphics by Stacy Watkins

The concept of being kind is so simple yet complex. It is something we as humans try to exemplify in our everyday lives but aren’t always successful. This year, Nov. 13, is an international day of acknowledgement known as World Kindness Day. First acknowledged to the world through the World Kindness Movement in 1998, the purpose of this day is to bring awareness to all ways kindness is perpetuated and sought. More information on World Kindness Day can be found at Ke Kalahea interviewed a couple of UH Hilo students and a staff member, along with creating a survey seeking responses from fellow students on their awareness of this day and how they show kindness on a day to day basis.

Debby Hulama, a cashier for Sodexo at UH Hilo’s Campus Center dining hall, finds that selfless acts are a natural thing for her.

Hulama expressed, “It just comes naturally, it is how I was brought up.”

As a cashier, she believes it is her duty to treat every student like her own kids, because it is what she hopes others would do in return.

“When I see the new kids come in, some of them are scared. I put them under my wing and I take them with my kids. Give them some guidance and some aloha.” Hulama says it was the way of our kūpuna (ancestors.)

“I would like for them [the students] to pass it on and pay it forward. It doesn't cost anything.”

Kaleo Kamai

Kaleo KamaiKaleo Kamai exemplifies kindness through her bright spirit and positive energy Kaleo Kamai, a UH Hilo student,practices kindness daily by always saying hi to others.

“I always want others to feel acknowledged,” Kamai said.

Based on Ke Kalahea’s survey, 88% of students were unaware of this day of celebration. When asked how students exemplify the act of kindness in their daily interactions with others, many of the students expressed simple gestures such as greeting and complimenting each other. One of the responses shared, “I exemplify kindness in my everyday life by smiling at strangers in passing, checking in on my friends and asking how they are doing, show kindness to myself by focusing on my needs and what I can do to become a better version of myself.”

In the second prompt, students disclosed the importance of being kind to others. The foundation of these responses revolve around taking others into consideration and the importance of putting out what you hope to receive.

One response beautifully said, “I think kindness is one of the most important things about being human. I think that love is the reason why we exist, and kindness is another form of love. We show respect for ourselves, for the Earth and for humanity when we are kind. Life is tough and can be brutal for everyone, but everything is a little easier when we are kind to one another. You never know what someone else may be going through and how just a little bit of kindness may bring some light into their life.”

Jotis Russel-Christian

Jotis Russel-ChristianJotis Russell-Christian assists with his mentees through academic resources as a peer mentor for Ka Pouhana UH Hilo student Jotis Russell-Christian believes providing others a helping hand whenever he can is the biggest thing.

“As a peer mentor for Ka Pouhana, I help my mentees out by providing them resources and opportunities for their education,” Russell-Christian expresses.

He also recognizes the importance of taking others' feelings into consideration.

“I hope the small things I do to help others are able to brighten their day and lift their spirits…When I see others doing nice things for themselves and others it overall makes them feel better about themselves and I think itʻs so special to witness.”

“ ʻIke aku ʻike mai, kōkua aku kōkua mai; pēlā ihola ka nohona ʻohana.” (#1200, Pukuʻi) is a Hawaiian proverb from the Puke ʻŌlelo Noʻeau (Hawaiian proverbs and Poetical Saying) by Mary Kawena Pukuʻi. This translates to recognizing the efforts put out and returned and continuing as a family and community. We all have a choice in this world, to have empathy and be compassionate through all acts of kindness is the best source of happiness we can produce. This is a special day to recognize these acts of kindness, but why limit ourselves to a singular day when we can do it every day?