TDNP: Buffalo’s Ice Creamcycle Dude

Why is James Karagiannis designing north*?

It’s summer. It’s hot. If you’re a child, there is perhaps no more welcome sound than that of the Ice Cream Man’s bell ringing or music blaring. Can you remember hearing that sound, then rushing into the house to gather any and all change? In the secret drawer, under the sofa cushions, on your dad’s bureau – frantically searching?

James Karagiannis, better known in Buffalo, New York as the Ice Creamcycle Dude, cruises the streets of Buffalo eliciting just that reaction. Except some of his customers are short of spare change.

James frequents disadvantaged neighborhoods, bucking others’ “irrational fear of the inner city.” Though the children are dying for an icy treat just like kids in more upscale neighborhoods, they often can’t afford it. As a kind, but small businessman, it crushed James to see the disappointment on their faces, yet he knew he couldn’t afford to give away the goodies to all the needy children.

So like any good entrepreneur worth his salt, he developed a solution. He began raising funds so that he could give away ice cream to the kids when needed. He created a social contract with the children. Before receiving the treat, the creamcycle recipient had to write a thank-you note to the benefactor, creating a connection between donor and recipient.

Happy children. Happy donors. Happy Ice Creamcycle Dude. Happy community.

*Many people in this world “add a little extra” to whatever they do: their career, how they live, the relationships they nurture, or just a random act of kindness – and we consider that *designing north* – designing your life and living it just north of the average bell curve.

James is designing north. Are you or someone you know? Tweet us. We’re looking for the global count.


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The Designing North Project: Bob Votruba – One Million Acts of Kindness

Why is Bob Votruba designing north*?

For most of us, reading headlines about mass killings elicits gasps of horror. The mental images sit with us for a while, and we find ourselves contemplating how on Earth any human being could do such a thing to other human beings. Eventually, the routine of daily life begins to soften the hard edges of those images, until finally they dissolve from our daily consciousness.

No so for Bob Votruba.

Mr. Votruba was so aghast at the horror of the 2007 Virginia Tech mass shooting in which 32 innocent people were massacred, that he was changed forever. Or at least for the last eight years and counting.

For Mr. Votruba, the tragedy became an epiphany. He quit his job as a 35 year veteran in the home building business, sold his major possessions, and set out on a journey – more of a pilgrimage or odyssey really – to promote his new life’s mission.

“One Million Acts of Kindness is a goal, a lifetime goal, for each and every person who’s young enough. Anybody under the age of 30 mathematically can still personally perform one million acts of kindness through little things, some of them bigger things, and what I like to call ‘kind acts from the heart.’” [Quote from 27east.com]

He now travels the country in his bus, spreading his message and bestowing kindnesses upon others – an inspiration to us all.

Who knows? Perhaps your own small act of kindness will soften a hard heart at a desperate moment some day.

*Many people in this world “add a little extra” to whatever they do: their career, how they live, the relationships they nurture, or just a random act of kindness – and we consider that *designing north* – designing your life and living it just north of the average bell curve.

Bob is designing north. Are you or someone you know? Tell us. We’re looking for the global count.

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The Designing North Project: Darren Swallow – A Living Hero

Why is Darren Swallow designing north*?

It was the day before Memorial Day, and the Wingate Nursing Home in Wilbraham, Massachusetts had no flag pole on which to wave the star and stripes. When an employee explained this to her disabled veteran boyfriend, former Army Specialist Darren Swallow, he took up the cause. He wasn’t asked, he wasn’t looking for attention, he simply wanted to honor his fallen comrades who had paid the ultimate price for freedom.

He stood for nine hours at attention, flag pole in hand, to display his respect for those soldiers our country has lost over the decades. From 3:30 a.m. until Memorial Day afternoon, he honored fellow Americans – despite the rain.

In this time of political and global unrest, this man reminded us that we are all Americans.

Read more about Darren’s story here.

*Many people in this world “add a little extra” to whatever they do: their career, how they live, the relationships they nurture, or just a random act of kindness – and we consider that *designing north* – designing your life and living it just north of the average bell curve.

Darren is designing north. Are you or someone you know? Tell us. We’re looking for the global count.
 

Not a subscriber? Jump on board.

 

The Designing North Project: Nancy Jundi

Why is Nancy Jundi designing north*?

So often we think that we have to be heroic to make a real difference in the world. Yet the reality is probably just the opposite. This story of a young woman, Nancy Jundi, taking time out of her day to connect with a little girl is priceless. In a matter of minutes she likely infused a lifetime of confidence in a young stranger. Nancy is an ordinary person who for a moment became heroic in the eyes of a little girl.


Her story, in her own words as she told it on Facebook:

Stopped for coffee this morning at 7 eleven (don’t judge) and when a little girl saw me she hid behind her mother and screamed.

When she started crying I felt really bad and had no idea what I’d done. Her mother bent down to comfort her and asked what happened. The little girl whispered something and then the mother turned to look at me.

“She thinks you’re Wonder Woman,” whispered the mom in broken English. “You’re her favorite…Could you…I’m so sorry…”

“OF COURSE!!!!”

So I bent down and had the sweetest most encouraging conversation with a 4 year old that I ever ever had outside of my own nieces.

“Why aren’t you wearing your uniform?” Sofia asked. “Well, I work with non super heroes for most of the day – even though we do super hero stuff on the computer.”

“So you fight the bad guys on the computer?” she asked.

“Sometimes, yes, but we also build some really cool stuff, too.”

“But when do you wear your boots and tiara? When do you fight crime with your bracelets?” she wondered.

“Lots. Lots and lots. I love my boots – and I’ll tell you a secret, even when you can’t see my tiara, I’m wearing a crown. It’s like my Invisible Jet. Wanna touch it?”

She froze. She was so excited. She touched my head and smiled. She said, “You have hair just like mine!”

So I asked her if she’d like my crown. “I have more, promise, but I want you to have this one.” She was so happy. So, so happy.

She hugged me, her mom thanked me and I was late for work. Because that mattered. And until something in this world tells her differently, she’ll carry herself like she’s wearing that crown.

And hopefully, that crown will help her tell the world to stick it, if and when it ever tells her she’s anything other than worthy.

Oh, God. How I love you. How thankful I am for what you give me in a day.

Go be super heroes, friends.


*Many people in this world “add a little extra” to whatever they do: their career, how they live, the relationships they nurture, or just a random act of kindness – and we consider that *designing north* – designing your life and living it just north of the average bell curve.

Nancy Jundi is designing north. Are you or someone you know? Tell us. We’re looking for the global count.

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