Cedar Rapids tweens on mission to spread kindness this summer
Look for a wand, post your random acts on Facebook
Katie Mills Giorgio
CEDAR RAPIDS — Magic wands have begun popping up in places frequented by tweens in the Cedar Rapids area.
Spotted at local playgrounds and parks, public pools, coffee houses and popcorn shops, the wands were not left by fairies or Harry Potter fans.
They are the work of Regan Murphy and Simon Osako, 12-year-old Cedar Rapids middle schoolers with a mission to spread kindness throughout the community during summer break.
“There will be wands placed all around town where kids go,” explained Regan, noting that last Friday friends and supporters of the project helped them assemble more than 225 wands. “Once you find a wand, complete an act of kindness in the community, small or big, and pass along the wand.”
“It will start rippling,” said Simon. “When you do your act of kindness we want you to post it on Facebook and Instagram.”
With the help of their parents, Simon and Regan have created social media accounts under the name “kindnessismagiccr” and hope they can inspire kids of all ages to complete a random act of kindness sometime during the summer and share their experience.
“We are making an impact on our community by spreading kindness,” said Simon. “We are teaching kids that you can change a person’s day by doing on act of kindness, but maybe it could change someone’s life.”
While the acts of kindness may be small, the Kindness is Magic team dreams big, hoping to have 1,000 random acts of kindness performed across Cedar Rapids by Aug. 11.
“This is really fun and it will be cool to make a huge impact,” said Regan.
The idea was spurred when talking with their families about the importance of serving others, Simon and Regan explained.
“My mom found a story about a lady on Pinterest that does this once a year and we thought we could do it this summer,” said Regan. “We thought it could be an epidemic and that’s really how it took off.”
Not wanting people to simply wait until they have a magic wand to complete their act of kindness, Regan and Simon explained that each week they also will be using social media to share kindness prompts on what they are calling “Magic Mondays.” Last week, they encouraged helping a service person working outside due to the high temperatures. This week, they are encouraging followers to help a neighbor.
While Regan and Simon are in the spotlight for the initiative, Kindness is Magic CR is a true family affair, as both Regan and Simon’s younger brothers — Reid and Alec, respectively — have gotten involved.
“And we are their admin assistants, their support staff” said Simon’s mother Stacie Osako of the role the parents are playing in the project.
“We are managing the social media because at their age they aren’t fully immersed in that world,” said Alicia Murphy, Regan’s mom. “But they are doing all the heavy lifting. They have the greatest ideas. Sometimes they just need our help in figuring out how to execute them.”
Simon and Regan go to different middle schools — McKinley and Harding, respectively — and are excited about the opportunity to pull in their different groups of friends.
“We love how everyone can think of their own idea, how they think of kindness,” said Regan. “And its fun doing something like this with someone your age.”
Murphy said as parents, they have been surprised at how quickly the project came together.
“I know we are their parents, but they are incredibly organized and have really special leadership skills for middle schoolers,” she said, noting the duo has a full project plan that includes a social media management plan. “This is a wild concept but they very quickly put the tools in place to make it happen. When other parents hear about it and say how great it is, I think it provides that bit of hope for what this next generation will do.”
The Magic is Kindness team hopes others are inspired to make wands and distribute them in the community along with acts of kindness.
“This is for all ages and families can do this together,” said Regan, noting other groups like Waypoint’s summer camp program and Kids First Gymnastics are getting involved.
While Regan and Simon know they will be too busy once the school year starts back up to keep the project going, they have already decided they want to make it happen again next summer.
“It’s so much fun,” said Regan.
“And we already have a lot of followers,” added Simon. “I like how everyone has a really positive attitude about it. It’s not like this is a chore.”
With every message they share they like to remind kids and grown-ups alike that all acts of kindness are magic and there should be no limit to the ways in which it can be spread.
“Even if the act is small it makes a big difference,” said Regan.
“And one small act can go a long way,” added Simon. “Even if we don’t get to our goal, we just want to spread kindness. That’s the ultimate goal.”