It’s impossible to overstate the importance of kindness in our everyday lives. A single kind act can turn someone’s day around, change their life perspective or even save their life.
This was a large part of why Cynthia Schick started a Kindness Matters Movement after her daughter, Rachel, was killed in a car accident in 2017. Rachel was a bright, sweet 17-year-old when she lost her life. Cynthia says she was an empath (or someone who is naturally empathetic to everyone) from the moment Rachel was adopted from Russia in 2000.
Cynthia, her husband, and Rachel moved to North Carolina when Rachel entered middle school. Though she was shy at home, the young teen found her place in competitive cheer and made a group of friends. But like many kids in middle and high school, she soon found some drama in her friendships.
After her death, Cynthia says hundreds of her daughter’s classmates reached out sharing stories of Rachel’s unending kindness, saying she had helped them through several difficult times. Cynthia was surprised given Rachel’s own high school experience wasn’t very positive. It was this irony that led her to create Rachel’s Kindness Matters Movement in 2018.
“She was in a high achieving high school, yet she was beautifully average. Her survival skill in high school was to stay low under the radar, but apparently, she made a significant impact on many around her. We received over 150 cards from students in the high school sharing stories of how Rachel impacted their lives,” Cynthia says. “The resounding message we heard about our beautiful daughter was that she was kind.”
Rachel’s Kindness Matters Movement has clubs in 4 schools in North Carolina and organizes different acts of kindness for people to focus on throughout the month, like serving meals to Charlotte’s homeless twice a month and planning a prom for a local nursing home. They also participate in Charlie’s Carnival every year by having children create Kindness Rocks, many of which end up in Charlie’s Garden.
We never had the opportunity to meet Rachel, unfortunately. She passed away about 5 months after our Charlie did, which means she and Cynthia never met Charlie, either. Despite not knowing us well at all, the support we’ve received from Cynthia and her family is incredible. We are kindred spirits of the most unfortunate circumstance.
We’ve always wondered what led Cynthia through Rachel’s Kindness Matters Movement to support Charlie’s Heart Foundation. We met them through a mutual friend, but still, their love for Charlie and the backing they provide us by participating in Charlie’s Carnival is so huge to us. What did we do to deserve their kindness?
“I wanted to support Charlie’s Heart because I understood more than most the grief this family was living and the need to honor their beautiful son’s legacy of his kind, sweet heart,” Cynthia told us. “And attending the annual fundraiser gives us an opportunity to create conversations with young children around the importance of kindness.”
Through Rachel’s Kindness Matters Movement, local school clubs led by students plan kindness-related activities and lead initiatives to encourage other students to be kind. Cynthia says this has been part of her grieving process: seeing other students who may not have even known Rachel spread her message of kindness.
“What I have learned about kindness is if you’re not born an empath or a naturally empathetic person, then you must be taught to be kind,” she says. “If you are not taught to be kind, then you need to be reminded of the importance of being kind to others. That is what our clubs in schools are doing.”
We are so honored to know Cynthia and be part of the kindness she’s spreading in honor of her daughter. A little kindness can go a long way.