RAK Louisville – At A Glance
I am the founder of a movement called RAK Louisville (Random Acts of Kindness Louisville). I started this movement as a 5th grader in December 2012 and my goal is to flood this city of Louisville with random acts of kindness and epic acts of service. As the leader of this movement, my role is to identify serving opportunities throughout the community that are suitable for students, promote RAK Louisville projects and continue to raise up RAK Louisville team leaders who can lead projects. The Mayor of Louisville has proclaimed December 23rd as Random Acts of Kindness Louisville (RAK Louisville) Day. We work hard to encourage as many people and teams to participate on this day to bring awareness.
We utilize our website, mobile app and social media to mobilize students and the community to take part in different serving opportunities around the city. We launch monthly challenges that benefit different grassroots organizations that serve the homeless and needy in the Louisville area. We are committed to spreading the idea of kindness and service in schools through RAK Clubs. We want to continue to challenge students to use their passion to change our city and live their lives with purpose.
Founder, RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Louisville
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RAK Louisville Community Initiatives
It is important for students to work together with their friends to spread kindness. RAK Louisville works with parents, teachers & students to set up RAK clubs in different schools. We provide them information on how to set it up, how to drive adoption and outlines projects for the clubs to get started. Andrew has visited many schools and talked to students and administrators who have been interested in joining this movement. RAK Louisville (through our sponsor) also provides free T-shirts to all RAK Club members. The RAK Louisville app is also free for members to use and it outlines ideas on how to serve and do random acts of kindness.
RAK Club at Barret Traditional Middle School: Barret TMS set up a RAK club to engage students in service projects as well as social entrepreneurship. Andrew founded the club at Barret together with his Guidance Counselor. Andrew’s sponsor, Eberle Orthodontics, provides free RAK Louisville T-shirts to all members in all schools
Barret TMS Barret Cares Initiative
Barret TMS is where Andrew went to middle school. The school announced at the end of his last day there, that serving the community is now in the school DNA and they have a launched a Barret Cares initiative that positions the school as a serving- centic school. View the video that launched this program:
Painted Stone Elementary
This is an Elementary school in Shelby County, KY that has adopted RAK as their school initiative. They are known as RAK PSE (RAK Painted Stone Elementary).
Andrew worked with the School Principal to launch this program in their school.
St. Margaret Mary School, Louisville, KY
There are many groups from this wonderful school that have adopted RAK Louisville. There have been classes, confirmation groups and even mom’s groups from this school who are heavily involved in projects to serve our city.
Local RAK Louisville Projects
Making Breakfast Burritos for the Louisville Burrito Riders.
Andrew and his RAK Louisville connections have made more than 3000 burritos over the last couple of school years.
RAK Food Boxes
RAK Food boxes are prepared for people who need a helping hand with groceries. We serve many veterans who have transitioned into housing and anyone who is connected to us through a grassroots organization. In 2017, we have prepared close to 150 – 200 food boxes of various sizes. Here are details on what is included in our food boxes. https://raklouisville.com/rak-louisville-food-boxes/
RAK Louisville also provides RAK House Warming boxes for those who are moving into housing and those include Household supplies, Kitchen items and also a RAK Laundy box (Detergent, Softener, Laundry Basket and rolls of quarters).
Louisville Rescue Mission Community Meals
RAK Louisville and our group of volunteers serve many community meals through differnt organizations. Louisville Rescue Mission offers many serving opportunities for our volunteers from small meals for their residents (25 people) to large community meals (150 people).
The Forgotten Louisville
Serving the homeless and needy in Louisville every Wednesday. You can sign up to help them serve weekly meals. RAK Louisville works closely with this organization to ensure that there are enough meals and volunteers every Wednesday. So many of our school groups, RAK Clubs and sports teams serve here.
Serving with Sports Teams
With monthly Challenges, RAK Louisville is always challenging local sports teams to serve together. Andrew and his soccer club have served many meals including a Thanksgiving meal for 165 homeless people complete with turkey, ham, and all the special Thanksgiving treats. This was quite a feat and serving the community is now part of what the players do at least once during the soccer season
Serving the refugee community
Soccer bridging the language barrier with refugees
Louisville, Ky has a large number of refugees. The past couple of years have brought in a large population as people are arriving daily from different places. RAK Louisville and its various soccer loving followers have organized many soccer evenings in local parks. Everyone is an equal on the field and the language barrier is non-existent.
A special focus on veterans who are either homeless (for all kinds of reasons) or who are in housing but without much financial support. We try and match these folks with student families to provide them with basic needs, food and even companionship. We have stayed with one of our friends from the time he transitioned from Tent City to Housing. One of our parents has stayed as a mentor to him even through a short incarceration and not giving up on him. A local company that supports RAK Louisville (through the parent of a RAK Louisville student) has placed him in a job where he is thriving and is now in a permanent employment.
Serving our schools
RAK Louisville is committed to serving our school district (Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky), our 172 schools, our teachers and students in any way that we can.
During the 2016/17 school year, the Barret Middle School theatre program produced the musical Seussical.Through collaboration with RAK Louisville, The Seussical cast performed at Cochran Elementary (Title 1 school) during their Pathway to Literacy Night. RAK Louisville organized a Dr. Seuss Book Drive in the community and the cast were able to hand out Dr. Seuss books to all students that night. We were able to donate 150 Dr. Seuss books and just over 350 Children’s books to Cochran Elementary. We used social media to spread the word in the city. The cast also performed at Portland Elementary School (Title 1 school) during their Dr. Seuss Week and handed out Dr. Seuss books.
RAK Louisville students volunteering at the JCPS Clothing Assistance Program. They ensure that all students have appropriate school clothing.
Understanding our needs
RAK Louisville leaders discussing with a panel of JCPS Principals about the best ways to serve our schools. This session was part of our RAK Leaders Hangout this past August.
Random Acts of Kindness
Our goals is always to spread kindness in our city. In the month of December, our goal is to flood out city kindness. Last year, we put out an Advent Calendar which had daily ideas for random acts of Kindness. We ran a social media campaign to extend the reach partnering with local artists, local businesses and local people who have strong social media influence. It was very exciting to hear stories and follow the hashtag. On December 23rd, this city of Louisville was flooded with people buying other people dinner, paying for the person ahead of them in the drive-thru, ding-dong ditch donuts, treats to nursing homes, coffee/hot chocolate to construction workers, encouraging notes on cars, etc. We also always make sure to shower our firehouses and police stations with some Kindness.
Our goal is to encourage more people to join our movement to spread kindness.
RAK Louisville Volunteers and Leaders Network
There is also a small Facebook group and text group made of essentially volunteers who are our first responders. They step in to fulfill immediate needs that come up. We assist several grassroots organization and smaller organizations as they transition people into housing from either shelters or camp sites. RAK Louisville works to provide Food Boxes, Laundry Boxes and General Household Items. There are also people in low income housing who need this support long terms because of an illness, chemo treatment, disability, etc.
Duffily Bags for Mendicity, Dublin, Ireland
RAK Louisville raised US$2000 for the production of Duffily Bags in Ireland. Emily Duffy, who invented these sleeping bags for the homeless met Andrew at a conference in D.C. He loved the idea of the Duffily Bags and launched a monthly campaign called #54for2. The cost of the sleeping bag is $54 – $20 goes to the person making the bag (someone who is homeless who is working) and $24 for the materials. Andrew set up a web page to draw attention to this project: https://spark.adobe.com/page/1vvXKI7FpDz3e/
He used his social media to a hilt with this campaign and even made a presentation to the Local Irish Society at their monthly meeting. This past summer, Andrew was able to visit Mendicity in Ireland and tour the facility and see the workshop where the Duffily bags are made. It was quite an amazing experience.
Waterstep Shoe Drives
Waterstep is an organization founded in Louisville, KY that is committed to providing clean and safe water to communities in developing countries. One of their projects that is perfect for schools and teams is a shoe drive. They sell the shoes to an exporter and funds are received to help bring clean water to those in need. Many of our RAK Louisville students have organized shoe drives in their schools and through their sports teams.
Founded by Mallory Fundoro, who is currently a senior in High School, feeds over 450 students daily in Uganda. RAK Louisville is currently in the middle of a monthly challenge that would hopefully help sponsor a child in Uganda for one year of schooling.
Multiplying the Impact. Growing the Movement
RAK Leaders and RAK Hangouts
Andrew works closely with a group of 25+ students in this community to grow RAK Louisville and raise up Leaders who will find their passion to change this city. He meets with them regularly and hosts an annual RAK Hangout where these students are invited for a full day of fun while we hear from people who are changing the world around them. This past August, the RAK Hangout was attended by 25 students from 6 different schools in the Louisville area. The main speakers for this event were: Mallory Fundora (who founded her non-profit when she was 10 years old), Steve Wiggington (Local FCA director who did basketball trick shots and talked about discovering your purpose in Life), a panel of 3 Principals from local schools in Louisville who talked about how to serve students and teachers within our school district, The Louisville Food Literacy Project talking about Community Gardens and everyone’s access to healthy food, etc. Omar Morris finished up the day with a workshop on helping students identify their trust passion and then a plan on how to forge ahead with changing the world.
Andrew was interviewed by WAVE3 during a live afternoon news segment. He was the Middle School Honoree for the state of KY for the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Courier Journal news coverage when he won the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
December 1, 2016
Interview with Terry Meiners and Rachael Platt to kick off the 2016 RAK Louisville month. Andrew invited his friend Sara-Kate to join him for the Live Interview on Great Day Live.
Great Day Live and Rachael Platt have been regularly covering Andrew and RAK Louisville since he kicked it off in 6th Grade.
Andrew handling a live interview on WHAS11 Great Day Live.