One spark

Spreads sparks of kindness worldwide

Written by Sara Garrison | Photography by David Don Wallace, Jr.

With just one spark of kindness, a person’s life can change forever. It was just one simple act that impacted One Spark founder David Hill’s life forever.

In 1998, Hill’s father had recently committed suicide. He had a chance encounter with a waitress one evening while having dinner.

“I was in a bad mood, but it was evident that her mood was even worse than mine. We battled with each other during my dinner. After some time of barking orders to her, I changed my attitude towards her. With kind words, eventually I asked her to sit and talk,” Hill explains.

Through the conversation, the waitress made an impact on Hill. “I felt my mood begin to lift,” he says. “After we finished speaking, I told her what a difference she had made in the direction of my day. She brought me the $20 check to pay, along with her declaration that I had no idea what this shared moment had done for her.”

Leaving the diner, Hill attached a $100 bill to the check along with a note on a napkin and his business card. The note read, “Thank you for the kind words that changed a young man’s heart from self- pity to gratitude. Thank you.”

“We know a spark will change the world. we don’t know if it will be yours. our actions impact others.” — David Hill, founder, One Spark Foundation

A couple of weeks later, Hill received a box in the mail from the waitress. The box included a note that said, "Thank you for the spark you gave an old woman today. Your note changed me from self-pity to gratitude. It let me know that I still have a mission left to do on this earth. Please accept the gift at the bottom of the box. This is the bullet that I was going to use to commit suicide. You changed my life.”

In 1999, the One Spark Foundation was created. Today, the organization, based in Wichita, has more than 173,500 Facebook followers from 142 different countries worldwide.

Each day, One Spark receives between 600 and 800 messages from individuals who share their stories of appreciation for the difference One Spark has made in their lives. One Spark volunteers are committed to responding to each message. Additionally, the organization posts positive messages on Facebook every two hours, 365 days a year.

“When I started this organization, I thought, if I touched one person, it would be worth it,” Hill says. “If everyone would commit to doing just one spark a day, imagine how we could change the world.”

The One Spark Foundation provides life-saving and life-enriching support to individuals in need through a variety of different programs dedicated to improving the lives of others and helping to meet their needs. A few of the One Spark Foundation programs include financial assistance, help for the homeless, a food pantry, diaper pantry, job skills program for the homeless and many more. Last year, One Spark delivered more than 93,000 boxes of love and blankets to children battling cancer.

Additionally, One Spark ships out Spark cards each month to individuals around the world. Each Spark Card showcases a saying that reads: The random acts of kindness shown to you today, was given in hopes that you would pass it on! I challenge you to do one random act of kindness, once a week for 52 weeks. One spark can start a fire!

“Imagine what the world would be like if everyone made one spark a week for 52 weeks,” Hill says. “If 300,000 people in Wichita do this – what a difference it would make in our world and how great our community would be.”

To get involved by making a spark, Hill recommends starting small.

“Small steps can make a big difference. Kindness doesn’t take money,” Hill says. “Kindness could be the key that unlocks someone’s prison door.”

One Spark Lights of Kindness preview, 9 p.m. July 20 at Fulton Valley Farms, 5079 SW Fulton Road, Towanda. The event features more than one million lights set to music. Admission is $2 or two cans of food. For more information, call 316-945-3051.

One Spark Foundation Programs and Services

Tipsy Taxi

A free driver program designed to eliminate drunk driving and shuttle individuals who are under the influence of alcohol. Call Tipsy Taxi at 316-945-3051.

Love N a Box

Each month, One Spark packs and ships 20 gift boxes to military personnel stationed overseas. For a list of needed items, visit 1spark.net.

School Sparks

A school presentation program that teaches kids about the power of kindness and positive choices as well as the implications of bullying. covers for cancer

One Spark sends blankets to children with cancer to spread warmth and comfort in their lives.

Free Hugs

Sometimes a hug is all your need to make your day. Spark Givers volunteers attend community events giving free hugs and sharing kindness.

Warm Hearts

A clothing and hygiene supplies donation program for the homeless and anyone in need.

One Spark Rescue Wagon

The One Spark Rescue Wagon is a group of vehicles that combs the highways looking for people in need of gasoline or just a simple tire repair.

Helping Hands

Every year, One Spark selects up to two projects that are designed to help a family with home- related needs such as landscaping, remodeling and painting.

Santa’s Workshop

One Spark brings Christmas cheer to families by providing food, clothing and gifts to those in need.

Wings of Hope

This program warms hearts and makes people feel loved while instilling the belief that their circumstances in the future will change.

For more information or to become a volunteer, visit 1spark.net or call 316-945-3051.

 
live  |  shop  |  dine  |  play  |  home  |  magazine  |  calendar  |  about  |  your turn