Community is everything to me. When I moved to Oak Park in the fall of 2006, I did not know a soul. I did not have extended family in the area and I was asking my children to come along on a new adventure. Through acts of kindness from strangers, we began to meet people and join activities and groups. Today, we have created a new family and community that I am truly grateful for.

Ten years ago, I had a vivid dream detailing a book about strengthening community in a clear and easy way while empowering one another. When I awoke, I captured this vision in writing and went back to work. I was extremely busy and had no time to shift my focus and turn my vision into a full book. But I could not stop thinking about the dream; the feeling of doing the work to bring it to life kept tugging on my shoulder. 

After all, the community I had experienced in Oak Park reinforced this vision, so I knew I was going in the right direction to bring the book to life. Eventually, my internal feelings won and I began work on the book. It was a great journey that brought back memories of life events with friends and family while allowing me the opportunity to speak with people who are passionate about their communities and share their stories and ideas.

Once it was almost complete, work and life interfered and I filed away my writings once again. It was not until nine years later that the book resurfaced. While speaking with a producer of a TV show, I abruptly answered his question with the statement, “I wrote a book.” I was flabbergasted and tried to take it back since it had not been touched in nine years.

That same weekend, our country experienced the tragedy that occurred in Charlottesville. My heart knew it was time to bring the book back to life. Fast forward to today — the book is published and I am going on a national tour where we will be highlighting the great works of communities at each tour stop. Hosting a community dinner will send a message that we all come to the table as equals.

Heart to Hands is more than just a book. It is an essential guide to illuminating the goodness in our lives and communities that we desperately need, while strengthening our civic engagement and reinforcing the positive influence community has in our lives. It is a spark to light a fire in everyone who reads it; a place for not only sharing ideas, but encouraging and welcoming new ones. Today, showing kindness to another is more important than ever.

The real work begins with individuals making choices from the good intentions in their hearts to the actions in their hands. I believe, with everyone’s support, we can build a groundswell that will envelop the country and turn a spotlight that illuminates the positive acts happening all around us every day.

I invite you to share your acts of kindness and invite others to do the same. (Share: Help us create a movement of goodness and have it sweep across America and our world. Remember, what we say and do really does make a difference.

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