MOUNTAIN AREA — This could be the sweetest thing you read all week.
Earlier this month, we heard from Angie Borba, owner of Mariposa Martial Arts Academy in Oakhurst and Mariposa. Angie wanted us to know about a little girl named Hannah.
“Black belt candidate Hannah Farris from the Oakhurst dojo of Mariposa Martial Arts Academy spent much of her summer doing something that few kids her age do: giving back to the community, and expecting nothing in return,” Angie wrote.
“Between mid-June and mid-July, Hannah completed 30 Random Acts of Kindness in and around the Mariposa and Oakhurst area, including everything from leaving lucky pennies around town — surrounded by a chalk outline — to offering ice cream to our firemen, and all of it done with a smile.”
“I like helping others,” says Hannah, age 7, on what inspired her to take on this Random Acts project. “I like to make people smile and feel good.”
The project began as part of the Black Stripe Challenge, a series of required monthly objectives students must complete in order to advance in rank.
“Each month something is posted on the board to think about, accomplish or help others,” explains Hannah’s mom, Tami Farris. “You need three black stripes in addition to your curriculum stripes, to advance to the next belt rank.”
Hannah is in the junior black belt program right now — the youngest in her class. Altogether, the journey is nine months long. Hannah’s random acts included buying food for Mannah House, giving ice cream to first responders, watering for the dojo, leaving lucky pennies in parking lots, and handing out flowers.
“She looked through Pinterest with me at ideas and chose what she thought would be fun,” says Tami. “She did as much as she was capable of doing in the prep work.”
With Tami at the forefront of her efforts, the project was a family affair. When it came time to add “Starbucks for Mom” to her list of checked-off acts, Hannah’s dad was also there to help.
Tami says it was important to help their daughter distinguish between the dojo-suggested random acts, and the sort of things people do out of basic goodness on a daily basis: retrieving something someone has dropped, helping out at home, picking up bits of trash on the street.
“We’ve worked hard to teach her those are the everyday acts of kindness. You do them because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want a pat on the back.”
This was different, though. Sort of a crash course in kindness. As would be expected, Hannah was pleased with the results of her efforts, especially spending time with friends.
“It felt good,” she says. “I liked making everything. I wish I knew if people liked my flowers on their cars.”
Hannah also loved seeing people smile when she gave them flowers, and hearing people talk about the pennies on the ground.
As a bonus, her mom couldn’t be more proud of Hannah for, among other qualities, her natural empathy and caring heart.
“She truly sees others before herself. She’s always the one to see someone hurt or sad and ask if they need help, are you okay, want to play with me? And she doesn’t give up — she sets her mind on something and goes for it!”
Thank you, Hannah, you’ve made our day.