Winners of the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grants:
Chelsea Phaire of Danbury, CT
Shirley Raines of Long Beach, CA
Chelsea Phaire (Danbury, CT) and Shirley Raines (Long Beach, CA) were recently awarded the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant to help fund their wonderful kindness projects. The grants were given by Matt’s Kindness Ripples On (MKRO), an organization that encourages acts of kindness by helping people who have ideas for kindness projects but lack the funding to follow through on those ideas. The $250 Grant is awarded bi-annually, every February and August.
Chelsea Phaire is only 10 years old but she a heart of gold. After losing someone very close to her from gun violence, she found art therapy so helpful in dealing with her own trauma that she wanted to make it available to all kids who are suffering through traumatic life experiences.
She started last August for her birthday. Instead of presents, she asked her friends to donate art supplies. She turned those donations into 40 art kits for a homeless shelter in New York. With the help of her parents, this was the start of Chelsea’s Charity.
She has since sent almost 3,000 kits to schools, shelters and foster homes across the country. The art kits come in individual boxes or bags and include paint, paint brushes, colored pencils, crayons, markers, sketchbooks, notepads and more. This has been especially crucial since the pandemic started and schools have been shut down.
While Shirley Raines (Long Beach, CA) was doing volunteer work among the homeless, women were complimenting her on her colored hair, beautifully done makeup and lashes. It made her realize that, at their core, these women are still women who were interested in looking nice. She said: “I decided to go through my stuff at home and see what I had hanging around the house and give it to them, and they were so grateful for it.” Then she asked her friends if they had leftover makeup that she could have to give to the homeless women. That’s how “Beauty2theStreetz” was born.
Shirley said: “Recognizing that the lack of a home does not mean a lack of humanity, “Beauty 2 The Streetz” aims to serve the homeless by providing necessities alongside the things that make us feel inherently human: a hot shower, a hearty meal, the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see. We are building friendships based on equality and compassion and it is this, more than simply the hair and makeup, that brings beauty to the streets.”
Shirley’s non-profit provides the homeless with hot meals, showers, hygiene kits, hair wash, color and cuts, makeup, and most importantly, a beautiful human connection.
This grant is given in honor of Matt Kurtz, (1985-2017), a young man whose personal philosophy was to live an honorable, compassionate and non-judgmental life. To give for the sake of giving, to expect nothing in return, to be aware of the world around him and to step in to help others without being asked whenever he saw the need. Matt believed in the ripple effect of a simple act of kindness – like a pebble dropped in water, it goes on and on. You can find out more about how Matt lived his life, examples of his many acts of kindness, big and small, and why this grant was created on MattsKindnessRipplesOn.com.