Prodigy

Ashley Dickinson

Kinda KindChicago, IllStory and Photos by Jessica Epstein

Acts of kindness small and large are so meaningful in shaping society. The smallest bit of consideration or thoughtfulness can change someone’s day, someone’s outlook and even their life. Yet with so many demands on one’s day many people find themselves stressed and stretched, forgetting to engage and interact in the simplest act of being kind. With some humor, a light heart and some perspective, Ashley Dickinson of Kinda Kind is making Kindness Badass. No matter who you are or what you’re doing, we all make a difference. We all want to get ahead but while we do, let’s do it with kindness. Ashley’s stories promote this outlook on life and she finds her examples everywhere, reminding us how we can live in this rushing world and still take time to be thoughtful in big and small ways. After all Kindness IS Badass.

 

1.Who are you? And what life experiences have led you to create Kinda Kind?

I’m Ashley Lauren Dickinson and I’m on a mission to prove that kindness is badass. Too often people confuse kindness with being a weakness… and that sucks! Kindness is an awesome strength. It’s so much easier to not care about anything. Kindness is standing up for what is right, it’s caring, it’s giving a damn… and that’s a strength. In addition to people confusing it with being a weakness, it has a reputation for being boring. I want to prove that you can be your true self, and be kind! It doesn’t requiring censoring yourself, or the way you live. You can swear, drink whiskey and still be a good person.

2. Who is your audience and what do they most love about Kinda Kind?

My audience is a bunch of kind badasses who know the true value of kindness. They’re from all walks of life, and from several different countries. They are fun loving people who can tell a good joke, drop an f-bomb, then have their heart melted by a story of rescued puppies. What binds everyone is humanity, and this community of kindness created through Kinda Kind.

3. With all the technology we have today, and your site celebrating true connections and authentic relationships with people, how do you encourage acts of true kindness?

I organize events, street activations, and encourage people to regularly engage in random acts of kindness. I encourage people to then share their random acts of kindness on the community forum on the website.

4. How have you used social media to make a difference?

Social media, like all media, is full of shitty news. I’m using social media to balance it out and share stories of inspiration, and tips on infusing kindness into everyday tasks. The Facebook page has grown pretty rapidly over the past few months, and it’s due to the stories that are shared.

Everyday people are sending me stories and articles of kindness from around the world – they’ll email them, post them on the community form, the Facebook page, or the Facebook group kindness is badass. I’ve had people tell me that the Facebook page has inspired them to regularly look for stories of kindness to share. This bit of happiness is now a part of their day.

5. Where did you get the motto Kindness is Badass?

Kindness is a strength, it’s tough, it’s cool, it’s fun… it isn’t something that requires censorship or a boring life. It’s finding your passion and putting it to a purpose.

 

6. Who are your biggest influencers?

I come from an amazingly kind and generous family – so they have definitely played a role. And all the people in history who sacrificed, and stood up for what is right. Those people are badasses and we owe them so much!

7. What were you like as a child?

I was a sensitive kid, for sure! I seemed to question things more than my peers. One quick example is when I was eating chicken nuggets with my mom at five years old, I asked where they came from, how they did it, etc. It definitely caught my mom off guard. But from that moment on, I questioned eating meat, and eventually chose a vegetarian lifestyle.

In elementary school I would walk to the library and read books on animal rights (thank God the internet wasn’t around then!), and then, call Procter & Gamble and ask why they tested on animals. I wrote articles on animals for the school paper, and did my best to educate people on many unpleasant topics. A great lesson I learned from all of that was the importance of messaging. If I came at people with gruesome facts and photos, I was instantly shut down. Just like I do with Kinda Kind, I had to present the facts in a more palatable way. My method was always to be a little more light-hearted and throw in some humor. People are much more receptive to hearing someone out, learning, and possibly even altering their behavior if they’re presented truth with a spoonful of sugar.

8. What’s next for Ashley?

I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on, and do my best to grow Kinda Kind. I have a few web series in the works, new columns on the website, and events and activations lined up.

I also have a line of t-shirts coming out soon!

 

9. In the spirit of being kind, how can one get more involved in this movement?

You can follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

And post articles and stories of kindness on the community forum. Think of the forum as reddit or imgur, but for just kind awesome stuff

And as much as I encourage everyone to follow me online, get offline and do acts of kindness IRL. Sometimes the smallest actions can have the largest impact on someone’s life.

 

Kudos to that Ms. Dickinson. xo

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