A new local effort called Noah’s Kindness Campaign is designed to help area youth respond to tense interpersonal situations with kindness. We can probably get the best idea of the program by seeing what its creator has to say about it:
“Noah is a 12-year-old boy who started a kindness campaign during his own time of struggle. Although he is loved and accepted at his school, on one occasion, a classmate said unkind things to Noah. When a fellow student made a bullying report, he noted that Noah had responded to the bully by asking him why he didn’t want to be his friend.
“As Noah’s mother, I was devastated. I was just so crushed for him — but proud that he responded with love even in a time of his pain.
“As we were ready to march up to the school and anywhere else we needed to defend Noah very assertively, he began to cry. When I asked him why he was upset, he said that even though the bully hurt him, he did not want to get him in trouble or hurt him back.
“Puzzled, I asked Noah what exactly we could do. He responded that we could teach the bully, and others, kindness.
“As I reluctantly changed my disposition in response to Noah’s tears, I also decided to respond with love.
“Noah and I then started his kindness campaign. Noah’s disposition and response taught me more about love and forgiveness than I had learned in all my years. He realized that the best way to stop hate is to teach love, and his kindness and love humbled me.
“I posted Noah’s story and his idea. I never asked for help, but my Venmo just started getting donations. Just like that, Noah’s Kindness Campaign kicked off.
“This year, we had our first event at Nelson Elementary. Several other schools, including OLQH, Hamilton, and St. John Elementary, also want to be involved.
“With the money we collected, we gave all the Nelson faculty and staff a number of Caught Being Kind awards to share with students who were ‘caught’ modeling kindness and inclusion, and standing up for those who were struggling or hurt. We shared hundreds of certificates, and the ripples of compassion began to make waves.
“As Noah’s full-time campaign manager and personal assistant, I am working to make a business plan for implementing this program in other schools and organizations. We know that the best chance of changing the world is teaching love to future generations.
“This year is a work in progress. But several local businesses are participating in community Caught Being Kind activities and moving forward with the hope of having every elementary school in the area participating soon.
“Noah is doing such good work, and I am humbled to help him out. His biggest goal is to hear stories of kindness. As mothers and children sent messages of how a kindness award helped them feel special and loved, he became excited. He even said, “Mom, I think I’m famous for kindness.” I think he certainly should be. We should make kindness famous and continue to encourage those out there to be kind and make a difference.
“You can find information about Noah’s Kindness Campaign on Facebook @Noahskindnesscampaign. We just kicked off, so the business plan is a work in progress. But for more information or to get involved, you can contact Nikki LaFuria (Noah’s mom) at email@example.com.”
The congregation of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church will hold its second annual Planting Hope seedling tree giveaway on Jan. 15 from 9 am to noon at the church, 1532 Sam Houston Jones Pkwy. in Moss Bluff.
Because the 2021 Planting Hope event was so successful, St. Andrew’s has doubled the number of seedlings to be given away at this year’s drive-through event; now, a total of 2,000 will be distributed.
The church will give participants one of each of the following seedlings: red maple, green ash and Nuttall or red oak.
The seedling trees are donated by Mike Adcock of Cypress Brake Tree Farm in Rayville, La. Additional assistance will be provided by the Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry, the Office of Forestry, State Forester Wade Dubea, and volunteers from Southwest Louisiana Master Naturalists.
For more information about the event, email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Loss Of A Skyline
The news that the badly damaged Capitol One building will be demolished sometime early in 2022 is also news that the basic nature of the Lake Charles skyline will be altered. It will no longer include the towering skyscraper that gave the city the look of a center of immense urban activity.
Of course, there is no reason a town that has had a population around 70,000 within its city limits for more than 50 years; and that steadfastly refuses to annex; should have any particular sort of skyline. Lake Charles has never quite been able to sync up with the big city mindset. And as far as many who live here are concerned, that’s just fine.
If the loss of the building means anything at all, it may mean, for some, anyway, that with a storm the size of Laura there is bound to be quite a lot that can’t be reassembled and salvaged. And in my case, I think I will probably notice that the area around the downtown Wendy’s looks different than it used to.
What Is ‘Rock Bottom’?
Some years ago, it was national news when Lafayette became the first, and only, site of a Popeyes buffet. I think there will be less news coverage now that the Popeyes buffet has been closed for good.
The corporate headquarters just made the decision. It was COVID restrictions that first shut down the buffet. Popeyes kept ensuring the public that the buffet would be back. But turns out it’s gone for good.
The Lafayette magazine The Current called the loss “rock bottom” for the city. While I don’t guess it’s quite that bad, I would hate to lose a steam tray full of those biscuits. (On a side note, you made have heard that when Popeyes opened its first branch in London a few weeks back, there was a little public confusion about the use of the word “biscuit” to describe Popeyes soft, buttery bread. As many of you will know, in Britain, a “biscuit” is a small cookie that’s usually eaten with tea.
Closer to a real rock bottom for Lafayette was more likely the fact that the city’s economy dropped by nearly $1 billion in 2021. That leaves us with a bit of an edge in the traditional rivalry between the two cities in spite of Lake Charles’ weather-related economic difficulties.
Of Course, I Could Be Wrong
Speaking of Lafayette, Escapism, a food and travel web site way up in Toronto, Canada, is promoting the city as “Louisiana’s underrated culinary treasure that actually has more restaurants per capita than New York City.” It also says the city’s eateries serve “the best darn gumbo you’ve ever had.”
Now, I’ve always had the impression that there cannot be any place on earth that has more restaurants per capita than Lake Charles.
Ghost Garden Games
Every year, Louisiana entrepreneurs compete for business advice and financial assistance from the Baton Rouge high-tech business incubator Nexus Louisiana (NexusLA). Among the big winners this time around was Ghost Garden Games, a female-led, 10-member video game development team whose home base is in NexusLA’s Tech Park. Nexus will collaborate with the team on their next game project and provide assistance in bringing it to market.
Thus Far, Ghost Garden Games has created five games, including Dreamweaver, Une Petite Aventure (A Little Adventure) and Go With The Glitch.
The two remaining games include Echo, which sounds like the creation that’s closest to a traditional computer game. The protagonist is a “sound wave” named Echo. She’s accompanied by a multi-colored ball of energy called Hue. These two move through “a surreal apartment world” by defeating a variety of bosses.
The game that seemed most interesting to me was Headspace. The player finds himself in the body of a human being. As the human being experiences various forms of anxiety and depression, the player must make quests to various organs in the body to relieve their symptoms. The ultimate objective — I’m guessing — is to get the human being’s stress level as low as possible.
Some of the games were created in 48-hour “game jams.” (I assume there was additional development after the 48 hours.) I suspect it’s not possible to play any of these games quite yet. But you can follow their progress at ghostgardengames.com. And you can learn more about Nexus Louisiana at nexusla.org.