In a way to help raise much-needed funds for the REACH Center in Paris, Kayla Raney has sold several ‘Be Kind’ shirts.
Raney said she lives by the motto, ‘treat others with kindness.’
“People tend to forget that others may be going through a rough time and that one act of kindness could truly make someone’s day,” she said.
As her second ‘Be Kind’ fundraiser, Raney said she decided to continue it with the REACH Rally.
“Our son is severely autistic, nonverbal, and it has opened my eyes to a lot in this world when it comes to others having a disability,” she said. “We will go into stores, restaurants, etc. and people will tend to stare at us when Aiden makes a loud noise or scream.
“At first I would get a little embarrassed, but over time I have come to the realization that he is unique. Instead of getting upset, I have started to explain to them about him having autism, in hopes it will bring awareness and acceptance.”
The REACH Center is a nonprofit organization for children with disabilities, and Raney said they have been astounding.
“The staff is beyond amazing with the kids, and they help them learn so much,” she said. “The community has been nothing but amazing with this fundraiser. I sold more than 225 shirts to local businesses, people out of town, friends and family.”
Raney said she didn’t have the words to express her appreciation for those who have helped contribute to the fundraiser.
“It absolutely makes my day seeing the community support and involvement,” she said. “My family and I thank you all so much. I personally want to thank everyone for helping me bring awareness to all disabilities. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to advocate for such an amazing organization and for anyone who has a disability.”
Raney said her personal goal for some time has been to advocate for an organization like the REACH Center.
“I want people to feel comfortable to not only ask me questions about our journey but to come to me for help,” she said. “I want to continue to spread kindness and I’m hopeful others will do the same. 2020 has been filled with uncertain times, and positivity truly does go a long way.
“Remember to always greet everyone with a smile, check on the ones who need it the most, and pay it forward when you can. Be kind to others.”