Patience Salgado has many professional titles to choose from: blogger for the PBS Parents Supersisters Web site, parenting columnist for RVANews, birth photographer. But the title she prefers is Kindness Worker.
Through her popular Web site, Kindnessgirl.com, Salgado promotes Guerrilla Goodness, a commitment to random acts of kindness that can be as small as anonymous notes placed in library books or as large as a city-wide effort to welcome students back to school.
She first pursued kindness as a personal effort for her own well-being — “The messages I'm putting out are often the ones I need to hear myself,” she says — and as a fun way to involve her four young children in the world around them. But her campaign has grown exponentially; the recent back-to-school project involved scores of Richmonders writing positive, encouraging messages in walk chalk outside 17 city schools. Within weeks, followers at more than 15 other schools across the country initiated similar actions.
Salgado stresses that kindness isn't just for kids. She was recently invited by a consortium of organizations including Siddall and the international nonprofit Epic Change to assist them in promoting good works and fostering philanthropy through a social media-powered event called Tweetsgiving (tweetsgiving.org).
“There is a desperate need for kindness in this Fortune 500 world,” she says. Her next planned Guerrilla Goodness action: encouraging weekend bar-hoppers to acknowledge the hard work of often-ignored restaurant workers. She's calling it “Saving the Stiffed.”