Today is World Kindness Day, and it’s no accident that this autumn newsletter (and therefore this note from me) is hitting your inbox today. While I know that – grammatically – kindness is a noun; I also know that kindness is something that we do, not just something that we are.
We can’t expect good things to just happen on their own, we have to make them happen. Random Acts of Flowers could have finished before it began. We could have thought “Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone got flowers when they were hurt or lonely?” and left it there. But, we didn’t. We put our thoughts into action, and we went to work. And now, more than ten years later, we’ve served hundreds of thousands of people and positively impacted many, many lives.
Everyone who has been a part of Random Acts of Flowers’ journey so far has done just that. So, thank you! Because every minute you spend volunteering, every dollar you donate, every person to whom you spread the word of delivering hope - you make kindness a verb. Through your dedication and help, we’ve turned potential kindness into kinetic kindness, and we are building momentum to do so much more in the years to come.
- Larsen Jay, Random Acts of Flowers CEO and Founder
The $35 ticket price includes container, flowers, and instruction.
A professional florist will instruct participants in a hands-on demonstration
of basic floral design. Each attendee will produce a floral arrangement they may take home with them and a second arrangement that will be delivered
to an ill or elderly member of our community, adding enrichment
to RAF’s mission of delivering hope and kindness.
Coffee, water, and light appetizers will be provided.
BYOB for participants 21 and over.
It is with mixed emotions that I share with you that I have resigned as the Executive Director of Random Acts of Flowers Knoxville. I have recently accepted a position at the University of Tennessee as the Director of the Center for Leadership and Service. My last day at RAF will be tomorrow - Wednesday, November 14.
I have been so blessed to get to know so many of you during my time with RAF. I have grown so much in this role, and I cannot thank you enough for being part of this memorable time in my life.
I like to think that - with all of your help - I was able to help RAF Knoxville grow, too. Over the last 18 months, RAF Knoxville has delivered 24,122 personal moments of hope and encouragement to individuals in the greater Knoxville community. That is INCREDIBLE! Last year, I set a personal goal for us to hit 100,000 before the 10th Anniversary of RAF’s first official delivery on March 3, 2019, and I have no doubt we will hit that goal well before then at the rate we're going!
The branch is in great hands with Emma, John, and all of our volunteers. The search has already started for a new Executive Director. If you know of anyone who would be a good fit, please encourage them to apply here.
THE EVER-EXPANDING RAF FAMILY TREE
When volunteer Ray Wolfe retired from teaching at Halls High School in 2015, he wanted to find an activity to stay active and be of service to others.
His wife, Kebra, was already an RAF bouquet arranger, and she enjoyed both the creativity of making the flower arrangements and the fellowship she had with her fellow volunteers. During the 2017 holidays, she invited him to join her to water poinsettias at Knoxville's Fantasy of Trees. He had such a good time, he helped move the poinsettias to the workshop for holiday deliveries.
He was hooked. "That led to me asking if I could be of help in other areas, which led to me volunteering to transferring flowers from different locations to the RAF workshop on a weekly basis."
In other volunteer jobs, Ray had "visited several senior citizen locations in Knoxville and other cities, I always felt that something could be done to make the lives of those living in these places more enjoyable and meaningful." He found that "something more" at Random Acts of Flowers. "Delivering flowers is important. Not just the flowers themselves, but the interaction. It helps them realize that someone cares about them; gives them a new person with whom to share feelings, hopes, and desires; and lets them know that they are a person despite their not being able to go and do things they used to enjoy."
And, Ray values the interactions and memories he's making as a volunteer. "I always feel better on those days I provide service. I enjoy the interaction with the ladies at the stores where I pick up. I could get the flowers much quicker than I do, but I really enjoy getting to know each lady I visit."
As a hobby genealogist who's "researched my family and have names, dates and places for ten generations of the Wolfe, Yancey and Bays families," Family brought Ray to RAF and nowRAF is a part of Ray's larger life story. But, for the people he's met and the lives he's touched - he's also part of theirs. The roots of RAF run deep and the branches spread far, thanks to dedicated people like him.
The Cerebral Palsy Center comes to RAF Knoxville every week to take care of our buckets and make sure the workshop is spic and span! Click the image above to see the whirlwind of action their visits are!
RECEIVING AND DELIVERING HOPE AT
In her position as a Life Enrichment Director for Morning Pointe Assisted Living, Camie Entrekin know firsthand "how excited the residents get when they receive their flower arrangements. They love saving the vases they get from RAF and say they know that by saving their vases for RAF that someone else will get to enjoy beautiful flowers."
Since December of 2016, Camie has experienced many deliveries, and she loves "seeing the look on the residents faces when they receive the flowers. It means so much to our residents that RAF volunteers take the time to talk to them."
And, sometimes talking turns into something more - "A volunteer delivered to one of our residents, a 96 year old gentleman; and, as they talked, the resident told her his favorite hymn - How Beautiful Heaven Must Be - and they sang a verse of it together. It was such a touching moment to see the interaction between the two that it brought tears to everyone's eyes in the room."
Deliveries of Hope 95,750+ in Knoxville 365,000+ Nationwide
Vases Recycled 115,500+ in Knoxville 386,000+ Nationwide
Volunteer Hours 55,000+ in Knoxville 176,000+ Nationwide
Larsen & Adrian Jay
John & Connie Wallace
The Roddy Fund
UT Medical Center
All Occasions Party Rents/Terry & Regina Turner
The Trust Company
Walmart Community Foundation
Aaron & Gabe Blake
Larry & Mitzi Bodie
Randy & Jenny Boyd
Ashley Capps & Birgit Clark
Deanene & Tom Catani
Drs. Walt & Melissa Chiles
Chelly & Kevin Clayton
Mike & Pam Duncan
Thomas & Anna Ford
Ann & Sam Furrow
Stephen & Olga Jesse
Raja & Michelle Jubran
Joe & Kathy May
ACE Consultants/Cecil & Alpa Scarbrough
Blount Memorial Hospital
Knoxville Garden Study Club
UT Federal Credit Union