Coffee & Kind.

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Carolyn Arthur founder of Coffee & Kind. Photo by Paul Petch.

Carolyn Arthur founder of Coffee & Kind. Photo by Paul Petch.

Carolyn Arthur is part of the GPR collective and on a personal mission to make a difference in some way within the community- with a coffee.

Never short of an idea to help others Carolyn has made the first step as a social enterprise and GPR are fully behind the idea called Coffee and Kind (C&K). Let’s talk with Carolyn to find out more details.

First up though… there is an event! If you want to get involved and give back, then join GPR alongside Coffee & Kind and Smiths Coffee at a cool event where you can swap your un wanted (still usable please) running shoes for coffee (or a hot drink) on 21st August. Shoes will goto the charity ‘Shoes For Planet Earth’.

Details: Smiths Coffee. Sunday 21st august, 11am till 2pm at Triathletes Corner in St Heliers.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/127027374405705/

So Carolyn, tell us about Coffee & Kind….

Coffee and Kind centres around buying a cup of coffee randomly for a stranger. Whether you are eating in or taking away, pay for an extra cup for the very next person in line or that comes into the cafe after you. Leave a message telling them to have a nice day or enjoy and maybe even offering them the opportunity to pay it forward. The idea is that it is random and that there is no expectation of anything in return.

My aim is to encourage kindness and giving for the sake of it – to feel good about giving without getting. I believe this will encourage us to think more fondly of others and to imagine what they might feel to be on the receiving end of a random act of kindness. I believe that we can gain so much more from giving anonymously and generously than we can from giving boldly and openly. The intrinsic benefits are endless! The Dalai Lama himself claims that the best way to happiness is to try and make others happy!

You never know when something as small as buying someone a cup of coffee can mean the world to someone who might be having a bad day, week, month or year. It might even inspire them to pay it forward.

Why coffee? I have become a lover of coffee culture and seeking out a good cup of coffee and an experience that matches. Besides the taste, coffee has come to mean a great deal to me. I have had many amazing conversations and made many connections over a cup of coffee. I have laughed and cried and fallen in and out of love. Coffee can bring together old friends and forge new bonds.

What’s your and Coffee & Kind mission?

My aim is to create a kinder, more connected world through an online forum that inspires small acts of kindness, making a difference in the lives of others.

I want people to understand and appreciate the impact that our words and actions can have on others. A simple smile or a “thank you” can make someone’s day just as much as a harsh word or a frown can ruin another.

How did Coffee & Kind idea come about?

The foundation for Coffee and Kind was laid two years ago when something extraordinary happened to me that I will never forget. I was in training for my first World Champs for Triathlon. My bike had been stolen and I was training on a borrowed bike. I couldn’t afford a new bike, but at least I had one. I went to meet a friend for a ride one evening at the triathlon store that she worked at. I walked in the door and she told me she pointed at a brand new bike and told me it was mine. I was very confused and she quickly explained that someone had come in the store paid for it and left it there for me and I was never to know who this person was. To this day I still don’t know!

This amazing and generous act of giving and kindness gave me much more than a new bike. The effects have been far greater than this anonymous person could know. I was utterly overwhelmed and so, so grateful. Initially I could not understand why someone would do something so generous and not want me to know, and then I realised that the anonymity meant just as much as the act itself. I was so touched and so inspired and I truly believe that I became a kinder and more generous person because of it.

Until then I had not appreciated the impact that our gestures and actions can have on others. Since then I have tried to pay to forward wherever possible. I don’t always manage this but I try and there are a lot of things I would never have done otherwise. It is not important what these acts are, and how big or small they are – the impact comes from the intention. Never, ever underestimate the impact that your actions can have on another! Pay it forward, say thank you, be grateful, smile and be kind wherever possible!

Coffee and Kind has been brewing in my mind in various forms since that day and with some prompting I chose to put it into action and let it grow organically and see what response it would get.

How do you think a sport like running could build the Coffee & Kind community?

While many see running as an individual sport – I see it more as a community sport. I rarely run alone and my running community sees me, has consideration for me and inspires me to do my best. Wouldn’t it be great if the whole human race could see each other, consider each other and inspire each other to do our best at all times? This project is all about community and inspiring a sense of connection and passion to the people that we encounter in our lives. Whether we know people personally or not – we are all a part of the community of mankind.

How do you see Coffee & Kind changing and growing over the next 5 years?

If I can dream big – I would love for C&K to have millions of followers and participants who strive to make a difference in other people’s days. I see hundreds of posts to the page daily of people sharing their stories of random acts of kindness and the difference it has made to their lives.

I envisage running events where coffee is constantly being brewed and given away and we are doing something amazing for the community – It would be amazing if this could happen all over the world.

I see products with the C&K logo that are sustainable and environmentally friendly and discourage the use of single use, disposable coffee cups.

Is there anything we can do to help this project gain some traction? Please tell us!

I would love your feedback, advice and suggestions. And mostly – I would love you to create acts of kindness in your lives! Spread the word and don’t forget to tell me about your experiences.

Is there anything else you want to share with us?

I really encourage you to start to notice the effect of who you are and how you are being in your everyday interaction with people. Notice when you are extra friendly to the staff at the supermarket, when you smile and let someone in front of when driving down the street, when you offer your free coffee on the card at your local café to the next person in line – what response do you get? When someone you don’t know is friendly and nice and goes the extra mile for you, or does something simple, nice and unexpected – how does it make you feel? Let’s get outside of our own heads and our own circumstances and start to notice the opportunities that show up for us to be friendly, to be kind, and to make someone else’s day – you never know what could happen! Be kind – always.

Don’t forget the event! If you want to get involved and give back, then join GPR alongside Coffee & Kind and Smiths Coffee at a cool event where you can swap your un wanted (usable) running shoes for coffee (or a hot drink) on 21st August. Shoes will goto the charity ‘Shoes For Planet Earth’.

Details: Smiths Coffee. Sunday 21st august, 11am till 2pm at Triathletes Corner in St Heliers.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/127027374405705/

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What are your website and social media links?

Website – www.coffeeandkind.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/coffeeandkind/
Instagram – @coffeeandkind

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Paul Petch
Director of Good People Run, pro photographer, tutor and a recovering 'runaholic'. Based in Auckland City, my work is at www.paulpetchphoto.com
Paul Petch

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