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Teen Trend Report

Random Acts of Kindness
"That best portion of a man's life are his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love."
--William Wordsworth

Background:

Random Acts of Kindness Twitter ContestDecember marks the start of a frenzied need to give gifts.  For this holiday season, we wanted to dig deeper and see if teens participated in the idea of giving or passing kindness to others.  We asked thousands of teenagers from across the world to write about their experiences of either performing a random act of kindness or sharing a story of when they were on the receiving end of a random act of kindness from someone else.

Over 5,900 teens reviewed the writing prompt materials and hundreds participated in the survey and essay contest.  Interestingly, several hundred students were personally inspired to perform a random act of kindness because of this StageofLife.com contest.  Below you will find the statistics, essays, and results of StageofLife.com's teen trend analysis on the "Random Acts of Kindness" report.

StageofLife.com would like to personally thank PapaJohn's, Applebee's and IHOP for helping to sponsor this writing contest!

Applebee's - Education Sponsor   IHOP - Education Sponsor   Education essay sponsor - Papa John's


Teen Trend Report Overview:
  • Trend Report about TeensVISITS:  Over 5,950 teens and college students visited the StageofLife.com writing contest during the month's writing prompt (Dec. 2014) from across the US (all 50 states) and dozens of international countries.

  • ESSAY THEMES:  Out of all of the topics discussed, several major themes were collectively revealed by teens in their essays about random acts of kindness. 
  • Writing contest for high school students

    STUDENT ESSAYS:
     
    135+ teen bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the writing prompt that asked them to share a story about a random act of kindness 
  • ESSAY WINNER:  Place winners, along with Runners Up and finalists were selected. 


PART I Statistics about Teens and Random Acts of Kindness

Before submitting their StageofLife.com writing contest essay, teens were asked to complete a survey containing some questions about random acts of kindness.  Here are the teen statistics from the StageofLife.com survey from the hundreds of students who fully completed the poll...
  • 88% of teens have been on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.  Of those students who have experienced a random act of kindness performed on them, 85% wanted to pass along the kindness to someone else. 
  • 96.5% of teens have performed a random act of kindness.  Of those that have personally performed a random act of kindness, 63% were inspired to do so because of the StageofLife.com international writing contest prompt.
  • 65% of students prefer to perform their random act of kindness alone.  However, many students involve others when conducting their random acts of kindness:
    • With friends:  38%
    • With family:  31%
    • With my church:  13%
    • With my work/job:  1%
    • With a civic club or organization:  16.5%
    • With my team:  8%
    • With my teacher for class:  12%
    • NOTE:  Students were allowed to pick any of the applicable groups in which they performed a random act of kindness
  • 56% teenagers (of those who have performed a random act of kindness) have done so more than 7 times.
  • 61% of teens volunteer to help others during the holiday season (either alone or with their family).  The types of volunteer activities performed include:
    • Collecting and/or delivering donations for those less fortunate:  34.5%
    • Helping at a shelter to feed others:  21%
    • Spending time at a non-profit that needs extra help during the holidays:  19%
    • Gift wrapping or gift giving:  28%
    • Performing household chores or tasks for people who can't do it themselves: 9.5%
  • 39% of students do not volunteer during the holidays.  Reasons cited for this include:
    • I don't have the time:  42%
    • I'd rather donate money:  10%
    • It makes me feel uncomfortable and/or I'm a bit afraid to do it:  8%
    • I don't know where to start looking for volunteer opportunities in my community:  47%
    • My family never volunteered, so it's not a value we practice at home:  33%
  • 59% of students answered "Both" when asked the question, "If you could donate time, money or both to help others, which would you choose?"
    • Time only:  37%
    • Money only:  3%
    • Both:  59%
Statistics about Teens and Random Acts of KindnessTo read the full survey results, click the PDF icon to view or save the free download.

SOURCE:  All statistics above were collected by StageofLife.com as part of its monthly teen trend reports containing statistics and writing contest prompt responses from teens on real world issues.



PART II:  STORY THEMES

After taking the survey, students submitted their writing contest essays to StageofLife.com.  From the qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes emerged:

Themes and Trends from the Random Acts of Kindness Essays:
Teenagers and Food Themes
  • Kindness Doesn’t Have to be Big: Many teens learned that kindness, especially a random act, doesn’t have to be a grand gesture to be significant. Being kind is as simple as sharing a smile with a sad stranger or giving a dollar to a homeless person. 
  • Kindness Can Save Lives: Of course, big acts of kindness can literally save a life. Some teens wrote about times strangers helped them when they or their parents were hurt. Sometimes, a stranger’s kindness snapped these teens out of an awful depression and gave them a better direction in life.
  • Volunteering is Rewarding: While all people love being on the receiving end of an act of kindness, many teens discovered how great being kind to others felt. These teens found a new sense of self while helping homeless people in the city or serving food in a church.
  • Random Acts Should be Regular: Kindness makes everyone feel better, so why limit random acts of kindness to prompted challenges? Try being kind all the time! It won’t hurt anyone.



PART III:  Read the Teen Stories about Random Acts of Kindness

Teen BloggersImmediately below, you'll find links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and all qualifying essays from college students and teenagers answering the prompt to share a story about their experiences with random acts of kindness.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winner, runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).


Writing contest winnerWriting Contest Winner & Finalists

First Place:

Random Act of Kindness: The Boy Who Bought Me Lunch by Silverwingedears


StageofLife.com student essay writers2nd Place: 

Random Act of Kindness: Stranger Danger by zoomthemaster

3rd Place (tie):

Random Act of Kindness: Not Random, but Innate by KTsui22; Thirty Minutes of Her Time by pico

Writing Contest Runners UpRunners Up (in no particular order)

Kindness I Did Not Deserve by Mirchi15
Nine Words by 18nappis
How a life was saved with a tiny gesture by gayatrigkrishnan
The Little Things by akouzmento
Spreading Snacks in Sacs by alexobrien
Chicago by TigerNix




StageofLIfe.com writing contest submissions

Read teen essays from StageofLife.com writing contest

Read All Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the StageofLife.com Writing Contest

The essays below were all written by Stage of Life teen writers for this monthly student writing contest...

All Teen Essays about Random Acts of Kindness


Essays about Friendly Gestures

1.     Random Act of Kindness: New Girl by BryannaMarie (She appreciated a kind conversation with a stranger)

2.     Random Act of Kindness: A Running Hazard by Madison.Kyle (She helped a girl pick up her belongs in the hallway)

3.     Random Act of Kindness: The Boy in My Class by Malinda3 (After a test, she spoke to a boy no one really talked to)

4.     Random Act of Kindness: My Day is Going Great, Thanks! by aliciaharrington101 (This teen appreciates the friendliness of one classmate)

5.     Random Act of Kindness: The Butterfly Within Her by angelica.christine (She made friends with an unpopular girl)

6.     Random Act of Kindness: You Look Beautiful Today by mhines (She received an unexpected compliment)

7.     Random Act of Kindness: I Will Follow You Into The Dark by arziemae (Her three best friends visited her while she was in the hospital)

8.     Random Act of Kindness: Papers in the Kansas Wind by TheUltimateCero (This teen nearly lost her manuscript on a windy day)

9.     Random Act of Kindness by victor1pompa (He hopes to be like his kind grandpa one day)

10.  Random Act of Kindness: Helping Hand by shreenasinha (She was in an accident, but woke up to a kind stranger)

11.  Random Act of Kindness: A New Friend by soul12345 (She asked a lonely person to sit with her at lunch)

12.  Random Act of Kindness: She’s the Sweetest by bschoen (She said hi to a kind person)

13.  Random Act of Kindness by stlsyd97 (Someone at starbucks had paid for her drink without her knowing)

14.  Random Act of Kindness: Ends in love by sassypo (She shared her pizza with a hungry boy)

15.  Random Act of Kindness: Hockey Table by leslye390 (Her aunt bought her family a hockey table for Christmas)

16.  Random Act of Kindness by Dianahurtado123 (She paid for a hungry family’s meal)

17.  Random Act of Kindness: Mother’s Day by Shelby Ayres (This teen made a generous show for her mom)

18.  Random Act of Kindness: The Race by Peaches200 (This teen purposefully blew a race so a deserving friend would qualify)

19.  Random Act of Kindness: A stranger’s helping hand by Nancy6 (She helped pick up trash on the train)

20.  Random Act of Kindness: A smile can make a difference by 14kelowe (This teen has seen a lot of things at McDonalds)

21.  Random Act of Kindness: Just a Smile by annie1214 (This teen was touched by a kind gesture)

22.  Random Act of Kindness: Smile by samar24434 (This teen appreciated a small gesture from a good friend)

23.  Random Act of Kindness: Kindness I Did Not Deserve by Mirchi15 (She was surprised a strange boy’s kindness)

24.  Random Act of Kindness: Stranger Danger by zoomthemaster (This teen was taken aback when a stranger paid for her meal)

25.  Random Act of Kindness: Nine Words by 18nappis (She struggled to fit in in her new school in Brazil)

26.  Random Act of Kindness: As solid as a smile, A… by Cheima (She and her brother offered free hugs to people in her city)

27.  Random Act of Kindness: The angel and the crumpets by Mawelewele asingamanda faith (She called an ambulance for her grandma when she got bit by a snake)

28.  Random Act of Kindness: The Terrific Trio by rosie98 (Three people helped her and her mother on Christmas Eve)

29.  Random Act of Kindness: Key Club by Sara43 (Her club was handed a list of acts of kindness to perform at a mall)

30.  Random Act of Kindness: Tattooed Strangers by chllee (A stranger paid for their meal because they spoke to him about his experience in Korea)

31.  Random Act of Kindness: One Red Rose by heb17 (Her friend gave her a rose from a bouquet)

32.  Random Act of Kindness: A Timid Gesture of Courage by allykangaroo (A stranger helped calm her down before a recital)

 

Essays about Helping Children

1.     Random Act of Kindness: Teaching Street Children by Saadbaloch_18 (This teen was touched by a group of intelligent students)

2.     Random Act of Kindness: Will You Be My Best Buddy? by Cynetrice.Michelle (This teen wanted to be a leader, not a follower)

3.     Random Act of Kindness: Helping Out at Dance by fallingintherain (Pass on your love of something by helping others learn it)

4.     Random Act of Kindness: The Translator by Jing Hu (She helped old friends by translating English forms into Mandarin)

5.     Random Act of Kindness by mariannacg (She gave her leftover money to a hungry child)

6.     Random Act of Kindness: Making a Child’s Day by Spencer99 (This teen dressed up in a costume to cheer up a child in the hospital)

7.     Random Act of Kindness: Goodwill of an Unfamiliar Family by nimra (This teen found shelter during a violent time)

8.     Random Act of Kindness: Bears Are Her Favorite by dramophone (She fixed up her sister’s favorite stuffed toy)

9.     Random Act of Kindness by gisellle02 (A kind stranger paid for her things in a store)

10.  Random Act of Kindness: Doro Wot by Ethiopia (She gave a warm meal to a starving girl)

11.  Random Act of Kindness: A new experience of pleasure by Tripti Sharma (She gave some food to a child beggar)

12.  Random Act of Kindness: When I was nice too by mac.cifuentes (This teen bought food for a new friend)

13.  Random Act of Kindness: Showing a Boy His Greatness by juliacoccaro (This teen said some kind words to a gay teen)

14.  Random Act of Kindness: An Unexpected Encounter by Juanfg (He returned a lost book to its owner)

15.  Random Act of Kindness: Christmas in July by dsherp97 (This teen helped a lost child)

16.  Random Act of Kindness: Being Extraordinary by saml0vesguac (This teen was inspired to give back after a small act of kindness)

17.  Random Act of Kindness: What Five Dollars Means by Rahasya (This teen found money, but gave it up to a deserving stranger)

18.  Random Act of Kindness: Sweets for those on streets by apurval mittal (This teen spoke with a shop owner with a big heart)

19.  Random Act of Kindness: A Stranger in Danger by tamales (A stranger helped this teen up after a brutal scooter accident)

20.  Random Act of Kindness: A True Blessing by Piekarz557 (After her mom got into a bad car accident, people were unfailingly kind to her family)

21.  Random Act of Kindness: The Problem With Foolishness by tjwang (She whined for a seat—and unexpectedly got one)

22.  Random Act of Kindness: Reviving the Outcast by dominiqueamani (She helped her friend revive a tattered reputation)

23.  Random Act of Kindness: Continual love and support by azannazhu (This teen had the worst year of her life)

24.  Random Act of Kindness: The Boy Who Bought Me Lunch by Silverwingedears (She paid it forward after a kind gesture)

25.  Random Act of Kindness: How a life was saved with a tiny gesture by gayatrigkrishnan (This teen planned to commit suicide)

26.  Random Act of Kindness: The Red Balloon by mandaleeyp (This teen and her friends gave a red balloon to a crying baby)

27.  Random Act of Kindness: Stranger Angel by lucille54321 (A stranger paid for her sister’s cab ride home)

28.  Random Act of Kindness: Thirty Minutes of Her Time by pico (She attempted to run away from home)

29.  Random Act of Kindness: Getting Home by rottenrhino (A stranger paid for an important bus ride home)

30.  Random Act of Kindness: When Jay Sells His Dreams by Oindree Sarkar (This teen remembers the talent of a friend)

31.  Random Act of Kindness: Cookies and a Smile by blossom1997 (This teen almost skipped lunch for an English essay)

 

Essays about Helping Adults

1.     Random Act of Kindness: The Card by blackwingbutterflies (This teen wrote a kind card for a stressed out teacher)

2.     Random Act of Kindness: Starting with a Donut by IndefinitelyMe (This teen gave a delicious donut to a homeless person)

3.     Random Act of Kindness: Helping a Homeless Woman on a Freezing Night by adrian.galltier (This teen gave a homeless person a ride to the shelter)

4.     Random Act of Kindness: Helping others is enriching your life by jyotsna siva (This teen was inspired by a YouTube video to help others)

5.     Random Act of Kindness: Roses to my mom by Josefp (He gave his mom roses on her birthday)

6.     Random Act of Kindness: Means that you have a heart by Yaqui (This teen and her mom helped out a homeless family with a young child)

7.     Random Act of Kindness: Giving Back by johannablmn (She makes care packages for homeless people)

8.     Random Act of Kindness by elakino (She gave her sack lunch to a homeless person on a class trip)

9.     Random Act of Kindness: Feeding the Homeless on Christmas by eliasmoreno619 (This teen went with her mom into the city to pass out food and blankets)

10.  Random Act of Kindness: Making My Mother’s Life Easier by najeeb_bruh (Her mother works hard to support her family)

11.  Random Act of Kindness: Creating a Bit of Happiness by 1051098 (This teen and his dad helped a family move logs)

12.  Random Act of Kindness: No more Grinches by DanielJoseph96 (This teen helped out a few day and loved the sincerity)

13.  Random Act of Kindness by BryanIsDBest (He helped someone carry heavy groceries to their car)

14.  Random Act of Kindness: Kindness is real by ronisha (She helped a neighbor with some chores)

15.  Random Act of Kindness: Assist by Bojun Yang (This teen shoveled snow for elderly neighbors)

16.  Random Act of Kindness: The Return by dowley (This teen gave $20 to a homeless person)

17.  Random Act of Kindness: A New Hope for Christmas by AeroTot (This teen’s family received a generous check to help with Christmas)

18.  Random Act of Kindness: Bread for an Italian Beggar by nfoeckler (She gave bread to a beggar while abroad in Rome)

19.  Random Act of Kindness: Filling the Luggage by angieisawesome (Her family gathered supplies for a deserving family)

20.  Random Act of Kindness: From Love by Anahi Victoria Arredono (This teen loves to help her grandma)

21.  Random Act of Kindness: The Reward of Giving by Fatumah (Being kind always pays off)

22.  Random Act of Kindness: Giving and Receiving by Jmoran-360 (This teen got free gas for helping a homeless vet)

23.  Random Act of Kindness: Helping an Elderly by suk.chamlagai (This teen helped an elderly person with groceries)

24.  Random Act of Kindness: Buying a Meal for the Homeless by kingyoloswag4/20:69 (This teen bought a meal at Taco Bell for a homeless “brother”)

25.  Random Act of Kindness: When I was little by sarai villatoro (She gave blankets and clothes to a homeless woman)

26.  Random Act of Kindness: Expect the Unexpected by _asshleyyy (She bought a sweater for a homeless person)

27.  Random Act of Kindness: On a Rainy Day by Ceci98 (This teen helped a woman pick up bags after she fell)

28.  Random Act of Kindness: The Homeless Man by Sammysuereed (He gave a man $5)

29.  Random Act of Kindness: Caring by stephanie ortegon (This teen remembers helping out a homeless person with her family)

30.  Random Act of Kindness: The Little Things by akouzmento (Kindness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture)

31.  Random Act of Kindness: Two In One by havehopeamy (This teen was glad to brighten someone’s day)

32.  Random Act of Kindness by aprilcampos (She gave her leftover food to a homeless person)

33.  Random Act of Kindness: A Borrowed Phone by jkimmy2016 (She let a stranger borrow her phone)

34.  Random Act of Kindness: In a public transport by Samrudhi (This teen paid for a person’s bus fare)

35.  Random Act of Kindness: Spreading Snacks in Sacs by alexobrien (This teen’s family brings food and clothes to homeless people)

36.  Random Act of Kindness: A Piece of Home, Away from Home by erinmarie_14 (Her family sent a care package to a friend who is a solider)

37.  Random Act of Kindness: The Heimlich by kayleigh987654321 (Her father gave a stranger the Heimlich maneuver)

38.  Random Act of Kindness: Rekindling Power by philipchoi2017 (This teen gave money to  a homeless person)

39.  Random Act of Kindness: Working to the Bones for the Flood Victims by AnimaAstraille (She worked with her family to donate clothes to the needy)

 

Essays about Volunteerism

1.     Random Act of Kindness: Serving the Destitute People by dashwooda (He volunteered with his school)

2.     Random Act of Kindness: Bringing People Joy in Song by NavigatorSpade (She loves singing for strangers at Christmastime)

3.     Random Act of Kindness by SantinoAncira (This teen serves food to homeless people at church)

4.     Random Act of Kindness: Messiah Alive by assenav77 (She volunteers with her church to save “lost souls”)

5.     Random Act of Kindness: Aiding the Future Generation by nunezvictoria97 (She helped children on Halloween)

6.     Random Act of Kindness: Working at the “Christmas Store” by imeza6 (This teen loves working to help low-income adults have a valuable Christmas)

7.     Random Act of Kindness: Helping the Seniors by ArielleK (This teen goes to retirement homes during Hanukkah with her Jewish center)

8.     Random Act of Kindness: A Runner’s World by chloevw (This teen ran and raised money for a charity)

9.     Random Act of Kindness: Feeding by ron0822 (He volunteered at a homeless shelter with a friend)

10.  Random Act of Kindness: Summer Volunteering by DoctorArt (This teen volunteered at a hospital in order to learn about what doctors do)

11.  Random Act of Kindness: Giving $300 to a rescue organization by Lloydz (This teen got in touch a news crew to help a local rescue)

12.  Random Act of Kindness: Just Grapes by arielnguyen (This teen volunteered to help elderly people register to vote)

13.  Random Act of Kindness: Mondays can be fun days by bkmzm (She loved volunteering at a daycare)

14.  Random Act of Kindness: The Post-It Project by amm0718 (This teen joined the Anti-Defamation League at her school)

15.  Random Act of Kindness: Chicago by TigerNix (This teen volunteered to plant trees in a Chicago park)

16.  Random Act of Kindness: Saying a Simple Thank You by LuciaH16 (She got up early to serve coffee to the homeless in L.A.)

17.  Random Act of Kindness: On the Streets by teddybeartara (This teen went into LA with her church)

18.  Random Act of Kindness: Help and Aid for Poor People by Sneha Krishna Murti (This teen started a charity to help poor people)

19.  Random Act of Kindness: The Week I Helped My Classmates by oliad mohammad (This teen started an in-school charity to help students buy uniforms)

20.  Random Act of Kindness by kaanozkan (This teen started a charity drive for a school in eastern Turkey)

21.  Random Act of Kindness: Organizing the Church Pantry by linlurz (She volunteered to serve food and organize at church)

22.  Random Act of Kindness: Merrier Christmas For All by WriterForever (This teen teamed up with the Girl Scouts to start a toy drive for poor families)

 

Misc. Essays about Random Acts of Kindness

1.     Random Act of Kindness by LoredoLeena (Smiling is one of the most powerful things you can do)

2.     Random Act of Kindness: Getting a Free Car by ukissinfinite (Her family received a generous donation)

3.     Random Act of Kindness by pvramirez (This teen likes being kind just to make people smile)

4.     Random Act of Kindness by KIZMAT12 (This teen recalls several moments of random kindness)

5.     Random Act of Kindness: Excuses, Excuses by MaxGrant (This teen likes to “live and let live”)

6.     Random Act of Kindness: My Lost Wallet by Hdogkuvachio (This teen was grateful to receive their lost wallet)

7.     Random Act of Kindness: Church Groups, Firewood, Nursing Homes by Erika (This teen has given and received many gifts recently)

8.     Random Act of Kindness: Helping by HannahNoelleHJ (Doing acts of kindness can make you feel good)

9.     Random Act of Kindness: Starting a Club by SamStamps161 (This teen wanted to start a club to help people who need it)

10.  Random Act of Kindness: The Runt by thatwritingdream (She helped save a runt kitten)

11.  Random Act of Kindness: Wait, What? by WriterS (This teen wants to spread the word about Random Act of Kindness Day)

12.  Random Act of Kindness: Not Random, but Innate by KTsui22 (Kindness shouldn’t always be random)

13.  Random Act of Kindness: In the soul by kaelawolkiewicz (The most important thing you can do is be yourself)

14.  Random Act of Kindness by shelb (Kindness can change the world)

15.  Random Act of Kindness: The Guide by kiki_99 (This teen thinks that giving money to homeless people doesn’t help)


Video Resources About Random Acts of Kindness

As part of the writing contest and teen survey, StageofLife.com provided the following video resources:

  Random Acts of Kindness List



Practical ways to perform random acts of kindness and pass on a list to those you impact so that they, too, might pass on the kindness.


“A 1st Grader's Act of Kindness Just Restored Our Faith in Humanity”



If kids can show so much kindness to each other, why can’t the rest of us?

"High School Wrestler Shows his Competitor an Incredible Kindness"



This video shows how helping others who are less fortunate than ourselves can make a big impact.

“My 38 Random Acts of Kindness”



A Ted Talk by Botlhale Tshetlo describing her 38 Random Acts of Kindness.



Author Sponsor

For this month's writing contest, our Stage of Life partner writer is the Lisa Verge Higgins who is donating a signed copy of her book, "Random Acts of Kindness" to the winning student essay writer this month!   We'll mail the book along with the gift card prizes.  Check out our other Author Partners.



Check out the our participating author’s website: http://www.lisavergehiggins.com


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