Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ITLT Radio Hour

We are thrilled to announce the debut of (drum roll) ...IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS RADIO! Brighten your commute home by tuning in on Wednesdays at 5pm PST. You can listen from anywhere on your mobile device. Simply download the TuneIn app, follow KVCM, and get your ITLT fix over the airwaves!

Today is our first-ever ‪#‎ITLTradio‬ show and we plan to be on the air every Wednesday through May! Feel free to comment here with what you think we should talk about today -- all suggestions are welcome!! -- and tweet us at @TeamITLT with any questions!

Big thanks to KVCM radio!

PS. You can tune in at 4:30pm PST. I'll be co-hosting the first ever Badass Bands Blog radio show with my awesome friend (and ‪#‎TeamITLT‬ member!) Jolynn, playing awesome local LA bands you won't want to miss!

Wish us luck!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Letters of Love, 2015: #igiveyoustrength

Almost a year ago, I started ITLT on a whim. I got the idea on a Tuesday and launched the website on Friday. Our first project was “Letters of Love,” and it gives me butterflies to be doing it again a year later.
Teaching children has forced me into being as concise and engaging as possible in a short amount of time. As soon as I stray, they get distracted, so I try to stick to the important information. After having taught this lesson to my students six times, here's my well-rehearsed project pitch:

The Pitch

A looong time ago (okay, like twenty years), I started performing in musical theatre. Singing, dancing, acting in plays, I made a lot of friends and one of them was Kyle Hanagami. Now, we’re all grown up and Kyle is a choreographer. (Do we remember what a choreographer is? Yes, someone who puts a bunch of movements together to create and then teach a dance.) Kyle’s dances are so awesome that is he is actually an international choreographer. (What do I mean when I say ‘international?’ Yes, he has friends and dance students all around the world.) 

Well, two years ago, Kyle started a project called “Letters of Love.” This is not a letter that reads: “Dear So-and-so, I love you soOoOoOo much…” (Pause for giggling) This is more of a letter of support, a letter of kindness. We are going to write letters of love and send them to Kyle. Now, why is Kyle collecting letters? He wants to count them! Why? Because for every 10 letters, Kyle donates $1 to cancer research. (Raise your hand if you know what I mean when I say ‘cancer’ or ‘cancer research.’) Cancer is a terrible illness that unfortunately affects a lot of people. It can affect different parts of the body and there’s no real cure to end cancer yet. We need doctors and scientists to try to discover a cure, and that can only happen if they have funding for that research. In two years, Kyle has collected over 30,000 letters of love from people all around the world. That’s $3,000.00 to cancer research! I’m not asking you to put a dollar in your card, I’m just asking that you make a card. (Then I asked them a bunch of math questions that end in us figuring out that 240 students will result in a whole $24!) By doing this one creative little thing, you are contributing to help find a cure for cancer! (Pause for 'wow's) It sounds like a stretch, but Kyle is doing what he can to help, and you are doing what you can. Kyle is going to collect, count, and then send all these letter to people who need a little more love. If someone is stuck at a hospital with cancer, I can bet these cards would make a big difference to them, don't you think?

The Project

I went on to explain the project: how they can create different types of cards, how their letter is for someone they don’t know, suggestions for what to write in their letter. A lot of people don’t know exactly how to write a “letter of love” – what does that even mean? We tried to keep it super positive. Some of my favorites were:

“Sending lots of love from our class to you”
“You are the music of my heart”
‘You are stronger than you seem”

What I didn’t share with my students was how I’m personally affected by cancer. I didn’t share with them how Kyle is affected by cancer. In fact, after two years of doing this project out of out the goodness of his heart, Kyle shared with all of us just how exactly he's going to personally benefit from our letters this year. Watch the video to meet Kyle and hear from him. The choreography is beyond amazing. Even after watching this choreography six times while teaching the project, I could watch it a hundred more.  

An excerpt from the first ITLT blog post:
"It is exactly the goal of it's the little things to bring awareness to important causes like this, so we shall start by sharing the amazing stuff these guys have already set in motion. Your first little project, if you chose to accept it, is to write a letter of love and send it to Kyle. Get creative, get crafty, but most importantly, write from the heart. I cannot WAIT to find out how many letters he'll receive this year!!"

I second it all.

Send your letters of love to:

P.O. Box 6339

North Hollywood, CA 91603


Fun fact: Cinematically, I wanted my students to realize that this choreography was all captured in one continuous shot -- no editing. When the third dancer appeared, I said, "how did she get there?!" One student, audibly whispered, "she's an angel." I almost lost it. In another class, I asked, "where did these new dancers come from?!" A quiet student said, "From heaven." Doubly #downforthecount.

Last year's letters benefited an incredible organization, Cuck Fancer; this year, all proceeds are going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so be sure to check out Kyle's efforts so far here.

The Video

Our Letters

Previous letters from last year can be viewed here and here.

Your heart is strong!
 Hello gorgeous! I love you!
 Lots of love from our class to you!
This is for you. Sending love from our class to you. 
You're great just the way you are!

 You are the music of my heart.

Share your photos with us on Instagram:
@itsthelittlethingsdotme #TeamITLT

Monday, February 9, 2015

#RAKweek2015: ITLT Top 30 Random Acts of Kindness has set a goal of 100K Acts by February 15
They are already at 10,000 after the first day (and we are proud to be apart of that!)

#RAKWeek2015: Flood all of your social media feeds with kindness. Share uplifting news stories, inspiring quotes, kind comments for one week and bask in the glow of positivity! That’s the goal of RAKWeek. Be sure to use the hashtag to add your good deeds or random acts that you received to the list!

ITLT is all about creative acts of kindness, but this week we can focus on simple and quick little things that make a difference. If you're already doing kind things like holding the door open and greeting new people with a smile and "hello," then we invite you to check out some additional kindness ideas. 

Our TOP 30 Favorite Random Acts of Kindness:

  1. Drop a coin in someone’s parking meter
  2. Pay for the car behind you at the drive-thru
  3. Find a public wish list on Amazon and send a gift to a stranger
  4. Bring someone a treat who wouldn’t expect it or bake for your unsuspecting coworkers
  5. Write a meaningful note to someone who deserves a little extra thanks or love
  6. Leave a coupon for the next person who needs to purchase that product
  7. Pick up trash
  8. Volunteer at a community garden
  9. Bring food to a local fire station
  10. Buy a prepaid phone card and leave it at a phone booth for someone who may need it
  11. Offer someone gum
  12. Carry tissues to share
  13. Tip big
  14. Let someone in a rush go ahead of you in line
  15. Plant a flower
  16. Leave post its with thank yous, compliments or confidence
  17. Offer a couple hours of free babysitting to someone who could use the night off
  18. Go out of your way to support someone – cheer on your teammate!
  19. Leave a few extra dollars at a redbox, or quarters in a vending or drink machine
  20. Eat lunch with someone new
  21. Warm things up – distribute hand warmers, socks, or scarves/glove/hats to a homeless shelter in a cold area
  22. Leave a used book on public transport
  23. Relax a friend or coworker by sharing some aromatherapy oils
  24. Two words: mix tape!
  25. Give a water bottle to a handy man, bus driver, mailman, janitor, or anyone else who might need it
  26. Surprise someone with flowers
  27. Visit your neighbors and help with a task
  28. Offer to take the middle seat – gasp!
  29. Hand out free popsicles, because... everyone loves popsicles
  30. Share ITLT! Post your favorite project off our website AND invite your friends to follow us on social media.

I'm going to do a version of the project in this video with my second grade Enrichment classes this week. We also just signed up to volunteer for a morning of music with homeless kids for an hour while their parents share some quality time on Valentine's Day. What are your RAKweek ideas?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

In 5/Under 5: Terminally Ill Boy Only Wants Mail for his 9th Birthday

I'm never truly sure of how many people I am reaching through this website or how many people are doing the projects suggested here-- but boy does it feel great when people reach out to me with suggestions for ITLT projects!! Always feel free to email us with project ideas OR guest blog yourself! With this deadline quickly approaching, I put all the information you need below, but a huge thanks to Trina and Rhianna for the heads up about this great In 5/Under 5 challenge! (ie. in five minutes, under five dollars)

Meet Bubby Everson. He turns nine on February 11th and all he's asked for his birthday is mail. His parents said that even junk makes him smile; so, can you imagine how personalized, hand-made cards would make him feel? He loves legos and video games, but he really loves stickers! Bubby's parents let him put his stickers anywhere he wants because they know that any day could be his last.

Bubby contracted the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) at birth. It's usually a harmless virus, but rarely, like in Bubby's case, it is fatal. Bubby also is diagnosed with autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, deafness and scoliosis. He has cochlear implants to hear and wears casts on both feet to help with the scoliosis when he's not in his wheelchair. Some days, Bubby can have up to 10 seizures a day and he needs to use a homemade safe space. Definitely check out the video below to get to know him better.

Bubby's parents go out of their way to make every birthday as special and memorable as possible, because doctors know that he doesn't have much time left. The Eversons have started asking everyone they meet if they would consider sending their little boy mail for his birthday, and they've set up a post office box in their small town of Graham, Washington. Now, the story has gone viral and we are on board!

If you would like to send mail, cards, or stickers to Bubby for his birthday, you can send it here:

Bubby Everson
P.O. Box 1142
Graham, WA 98338

Some of our #TeamITLT has already sent off their letters to little Bubby! Trina, who works as a music editor and ambassador at High Voltage Magazine and is literally an "expert fan" according to the Badass Bands Blog, sent Bubby an incredible package of stickers from some of the coolest bands in the L.A. music scene. (Recognize The Janks? They hosted our awesome sock drive back in November!)

Send us a photo of your letters or stickers or share with us on Instagram:
@itsthelittlethingsdotme #TeamITLT

Saturday, February 7, 2015

In 5/Under 5: Send a FREE Valentine to a Child in the Hospital

We at ITLT love a good In 5/Under 5 challenge!! While this is an "In 5 minutes/Under 5 dollars" challenge, we know you'll really love this one because, in fact, it's actually FREE and takes only ONE minute! If you've been on #TeamITLT for a little while, this project may look familiar to you...

Back in October, we challenged all of you to Send a Bat-o-gram to children spending Halloween at Children's Hospital LA. We were honored to receive a personal email from the friendly folks at CHLA, lettings us know that ITLT played an important part in sharing an amazing amount of smiles that day: "Your blog is great. You are so right; it's the little things that add up to a big difference." Over 16,000 grams were delivered to the kids, and so proud that we could be a part of such a happy day. Thank you to all of our team for participating!

If you haven't guessed by now, I am VERY excited to see how many valentines we can send for Valentine's Day!! 

Remember making valentines when you were a kid? Exchanging little cards with your classmates and then excitedly looking through the stack of cards you received? Hearts, glitter, and goodies everywhere! CHLA wants to make sure their patients have that same sweet experience this Valentine's Day—even if they can't celebrate with their classmates. They have some fun activities planned at the hospital, and they need US to help us make Valentine's Day extra special!

Let's rally, TeamITLT!
After you send yours, share with friends!

As always, if YOU know of any other hospitals or organizations that make sending holiday greeting cards so easy, please share them with us. If you're particularly inspired, share it with us in the form of a blog post and be a guest blogger on ITLT!

Upload a photo of your Valentine and share it with us!
@itsthelittlethings on IG, #TeamITLT

Happy Valentine's Day from us to you! 
AND from all of us to the kiddos at CHLA this holiday!