Bay Area Responds to #26Acts of Kindness

It started with a simple tweet from NBC News' Ann Curry.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It started with a simple tweet from NBC News' Ann Curry. Now, the movement to do random acts of kindness is spreading from coast to coast, all in an effort for friends and strangers to dig in deep and somehow, positively react in the wake of the horrific Newtown, Conn. shooting. The Bay Area responded too. Joe Rosato Jr. reports. (Published Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012)

    It started with a simple tweet from NBC News' Ann Curry.

    Now, the movement to do random acts of kindness is spreading from coast to coast, all in an effort for friends and strangers to dig in deep and somehow, positively react in the wake of the horrific Newtown, Conn. shooting. On Friday, gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first-graders and six teachers and school administrators in an unspeakable tragedy that has gripped - and torn apart - the nation.

    Curry tweeted out: "Imagine if all of us committed to 20 acts of kindness to honor each child lost in Newtown. I'm in. If you are RT. #20Acts." That hashtag quickly morphed to also include the six adults killed. Now the second hashtag is #26acts. Some have even tweaked the effort more, adding a 27th act, as Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, too, before killing himself.

    Twitter-friendly and social media savvy people in the Bay Area are responding to the call.

    For full Newtown coverage, click here.

    "This is just exploding," said Kristin Keim, who is studying to be a clinical psychologist and who gave a free ballet lesson at the downtown Oakland YMCA after she saw Curry's tweet. "Ann Curry even retweeted me."

    And Keim is joined by countless others, too.

    Ana Homayoun, author and founder and director of the Los Altos-based Green Ivy Educational Consulting firm, saw the tweet and quickly organized her friends and colleagues. On Tuesday, she had collected about 100 books that she planned to donate to the Children's Book Project in San Francisco.

    Her organization usually "gives back quietly," she said, helping children and teens in foster care.

    But Homayoun wanted to act publicly about this movement. She grew up in Mansfield, Conn. - about 40 minutes away from Newtown - and when she saw images of children crying on school blacktops, it reminded her of her youth at school back East.

    "I just thought, 'books,'" Homayoun said. "What a beautiful idea."

    Beth Steinberg of Menlo Park said she paid $3,600 to send 32 children to school in Kenya and Cathy Yih of Alamo sent a woman money on Tuesday morning after she learned her camera and Christmas presents were stolen. Desaree Juarez of San Jose set up a gofundme.com page to donate to the Sandy Hook Elementary survivors. Jason Chan of San Francisco said he paid the bridge toll for the person behind him, handed a homeless man some lunch and bought some toys for children just before the holidays. He's trying to hit all 20 acts himself.

    Campbell's mayor, Evan Low, wanted to do more, as well, after witnesses kindness cropping up all across the country.

    So, he called up the the superintendent of the Campbell Union School District, the Campbell Police Officer's Association and the garbage crew at West Valley Collection and Recycling.

    Together, everyone pitched in some money to buy bicycles for about 45 needy school children in Campbell. On Tuesday, volunteers were putting the finishing touches on the bikes, including adding brand new bows.

    "I just saw people doing things," Low said. "And I wanted to do something, too."

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