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Intro to Smile Project Birthday Giveback: #30SmileReminders

Hi! I’m Liz Buechele and I’m the founder of The Smile Project, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading Happiness through intentional acts of kindness, youth service clubs, and daily gratitude practices. I also love birthdays. 

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been fascinated by the ways you can take a day that is all about you and use it in service of others. That’s how the Birthday Giveback was born. Each year, I try to do some sort of big kindness project around my birthday and each year, this community really steps up and supports. Thank you for that.

On May 20, I will turn 30-years-old. To celebrate, I’ve compiled a list of what we call “Smile Reminders.” A Smile Reminder is not revolutionary. Rather, it’s those simple snippets of joy we see and experience when we’re out and about in our daily lives. It’s someone holding the door or a baby waving at you from a stroller. Smile Reminders are everywhere. But why not intentionally create a few more?

I’ve compiled a list of #30SmileReminders. It’s my hope that you’ll read through and pick at least one that speaks to you and then go out in your community over the next month and spread that smile. If you do—and if you are so inclined to post—please hashtag #30SmileReminders and #SmileBirthdayGiveback. I’ll be mailing a Smile Project sticker to everyone participating. And, be sure to follow along on our blog and social media as I highlight three Smile Reminders of my own. Thank you for helping me ring in a new decade with kindness. 

  1. Ask the grocery store cashier what their favorite candy bar is from the shelf. Whatever they choose, add it to your cart and then hand it to them after you’ve paid.

  2. Help someone study for an upcoming exam.

  3. Organize a park clean-up or just be mindful to pick up the litter you see on your next walk.

  4. Offer to babysit for a loved one with young children.

  5. Give someone a genuine compliment. 

  6. Send a friend $5 on Venmo or Zelle to treat themselves to coffee.

  7. Paint rocks and hide them where people can find them.

  8. Ask your loved ones what they need help with and then, if it’s within your means to support, do so.

  9. Go on a Gratitude Walk (alone or together) where you pay extra attention to the awe and wonder that surrounds you.

  10. Text a friend 5 things you love about them. Tell them you’re proud of them.

  11. Support local businesses.

  12. Cook a nourishing healthy meal or delicious sweet treat for someone.

  13. Ask someone to teach you something they care about and listen intently as they explain all the details of it.

  14. Sign up for a library card.

  15. Write a letter to yourself and seal it away in an envelope. Open it on November 9, 2024 (that’s #JoyDay; we’ll remind you!)

  16. Support a friend’s creative endeavors.

  17. Bring fresh flowers to a neighbor.

  18. Donate (or sign up to donate) blood.

  19. Leave a handful of quarters at a laundromat or by a vending machine.

  20. Sign up to become a #SmileProjectAmbassador and begin recording your own daily joy. 

  21. Tip outrageously high on a small bill. 

  22. Talk up a colleague to their boss or to other colleagues. 

  23. Leave inspirational notes in a public space.

  24. Donate to charity in a loved one’s name and tell them you did so.

  25. Share your craft with the world. Expect nothing in return.

  26. Write and mail a Gratitude Letter.

  27. Research places to volunteer locally in your community. 

  28. Leave sweet notes around your home for your roommate, friend, family, etc.

  29. Find a way to share unexpected delight with someone with a “just because” gift.

  30. Ask someone to dance with you. Even just one song. Be bold. Be silly. Have fun.


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