Posted: March 5, 2014, 2:50 p.m.,
by Molly Moore.
For a Richmond, Va., mother of four, kindness is not an act; it is a lifestyle and a profession.
“Kindness changes everything,” Patience Salgado said. Salgado is a birth photographer and a blogger for The Huffington Post, but the title she is most known for is “kindness worker.”
Since 2006, Salgado has shared messages of kindness through her public blog, kindnessgirl.com. She writes about the way in which she believes that kindness can change the world, one act at a time.
She has also constructed a number of national campaigns that share inspiring stories of kindness and encourage small acts of kindness in daily life. What started as Salgado living out a life of kindness for her own need, has turned into a mission that has inspired people around the world.
Salgado recently teamed up with The Martin Agency and other sponsors to create a project that literally illuminated downtown Richmond, and its message impacted many far beyond the Richmond city limits. The Light of Human Kindness project’s foundation was built by human stories.
Salgado collected hundreds of stories of hardship, hope, darkness and light. With the help of sponsors, together they created an interactive mural in downtown Richmond that contained the writing of more than 100 personal stories and displayed the “shared capacity to light the world.”
The mural invited people to not only share their personal stories of pain and kindness but to also interact with the wall itself. One thousand light bulbs were installed on the 110-by-25-foot wall. The source of power to fuel the lights? Kindness.
People performed more than 1,000 acts of kindness to actually light the lights. Each light was powered by one act of kindness. Additionally, the collective energy of a hand touching the wall “while linked with a physical human connection to others” caused the lights to change colors.
“Everyone has a dark story; everyone holds a light; everyone needs kindness,” Salgado said.
This is just one of the many kindness projects that Salgado has launched. There is a story behind each of her missions, and her creativity is abundant in all of her work.
Salgado doesn’t have a background in public relations, but she is a master communicator and has a list of accolades as long as the world’s best practitioners. She has been featured or mentioned in and written for media outlets such as O — The Oprah Magazine, The Huffington Post, Yahoo Shine and Good Housekeeping, and was named one of Mashable’s 11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Daily Inspiration in 2012.
Perhaps some of Salgado’s ability to inspire is, in part, due to the belief that “kindness is contagious,” but her passion, creativity and strategic social media outreach have undeniably played a major role in Salgado’s success.
Salgado is resourceful and innovative. The discovery of plastic, toy wands that she found while cleaning one day sparked an idea for her to start a global social kindness experiment called the Magic Wand Project.
She is notorious for sharing kindness messages in unconventional ways. She recreated the old “ding-dong ditch” prank into an act of kindness. Rather than ringing a door bell and fleeing the scene empty-handed, Salgado encourages leaving a small gift before dashing away.
“It amazes me how Patience [Salgado] can take something as simple as some sidewalk chalk or construction paper and glue and turn it into something great that has more impact than you could have ever imagined possible with such limited resources,” Ashley Burgess, a business partner of Salgado’s husband at E2 Events, said.
Salgado has not only inspired people to live more kindly, but her work reinforces the power of ideas. For communicators, budget restrictions, lack of resources and fear are cold-blooded killers of creativity. Magic doesn’t happen as a result of extra bills in the bank; magic happens when you think less about restrictions and more about possibilities.
“Magic is created in even just starting to imagine what can be,” Salgado said.
So next time your creative juices are running low, try cleaning the house to see what you find and then imagine what can be. It might just happen that you run across something that sparks a magical idea.