Bridgewater Credit Union
Random Acts of Kindness Week

random acts of kindness week

Gnome Surf"RAOK" Week at FLMS

Hang Ten with Gnome Surf

For those moments when nothing seems to being going right, life and the people in it will surprise you. For our own VP of Business Development, Chris Antao, founder of Gnome Surf Project and Gnome Create, helping to lighten the weight of those days is what its all about.

All his life, Antao knew that he wanted to make a difference in the world. He didn’t want to be rich, or to be famous, he just hoped to make a difference, especially through kids. This is why Antao took it into his own hands to start the Gnome Surf Project, an inclusive surf camp for children of all abilities including down syndrome, autism, depression, and epilipsy among others.

The program aims to inspire kids to accept not only each other but themselves. For Antao, he belives that it’s, “an important step in development to integrate children of all abilities and they can learn from each other”

Over the course of the summer, kids take lessons to learn the basics of surfing including paddling, balance, and eventually how to stand up and ride a wave. However, the teachings each Saturday and Sunday go far beyond the techniques of surfing. Just like how no two waves are the same, kids learn to grasp the idea that being different is cool. Kids find ways to adapt to new situations and environments and with each fall off of the surfboard, kids learn the importance of picking themselves back up and to try again.

Antao has since expanded his Gnome project, introducing “Gnome Create” in 2015, which allows kids to express themselves through creative outlets like their artwork. A part of this project included a coloring book comprised of 30 drawings from several local artists. The front cover shows a gnome holding a surfboard with a heart shaped peace sign and each page is designed to emblem their main message of positivity.

Anato’s latest endeavour inludes working with the “Autism Resources Network” to work on program for their students through the “Gnome philosophy." Antao and his programs will serve as additional resources for families in need. One program named,“Happy Camp”, includes activities like surfing, art, and yoga at the beach.  

As a long term goal, he hopes to one day build a camp destination in Costa Rica for kids and their families to go have fun, relax, and experience all the good that life has to offer. So far, Antao has raised over $10,000 toward the camp project.

While Antao has received several accolades for his work with children, like the “2017 Special Needs Recognition” citation from the Rhode Island House of Representatives, his Gnome projects are about the children. “It helps them heal and helps me heal,” says Antao. With the warm season quickly approaching, you can be sure to find Antao and all of his surfers coasting along in the ocean water.

Chris Antao with one of his Gnome surfers

RAOK Week at the Freetown Lakeville Middle School

Life isn’t always easy and on days when the weight of the world is resting on your shoulders, it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of life. There is no better example of the goodness that can be found than random acts of kindness performed by complete strangers. Strangers, who have no reason to help, other than being kindhearted individuals, can truly restore your faith in humanity.

This concept was a realization made four years ago by Freetown-Lakeville Middle School teacher, Mr. E. For no rhyme or reason, Mr. E decided to be a light in a sometimes dark world, and he has been shining ever since.

I decided to start doing Random Acts of Kindness out of the blue. I'm not sure what really got over me, but I was just trying to promote good and kindness because we just hear so much negativity everywhere we go from the news to online to people talking. I wanted to be a promoter of spreading kindness and show these kids [students] that the world doesn't have to be this big horrible scary place.”

Since 2014, Mr. E has participated in “Random Acts of Kindness Week” where he has volunteered at non-profit organizations, donated to TOYS4TOTS, and brought goodies to neighbors, friends, and hospital workers. He had even set up a fundraiser and raised $400.00 for a boy in Australia who handmade teddy bears for sick children in hospitals as a way to cheer them up.

The countless efforts made by Mr. E have since inspired those around him to actively become involved in their own communities. It has become a tradition within his sixth grade classroom to partake in “Random Acts of Kindness Week”. Despite offering no extra credit or prizes for participation, each year there has been an overwhelming response with one student even donating all of her birthday money to create supply bags for homeless shelters.

Mr. E’s sixth grade class has even been recognized by the Ellen DeGeneres Show. While they never appeared on stage with Ellen, they were contacted by the show to gather more information about Mr. E’s Random Acts of Kindness challenge.

So why do it? What’s the take away? For Mr. E and his class, “It’s just the feeling you get whenever you do something. People are so grateful and appreciative. Sometimes it's better to help someone in need of something than to spoil yourself.”

Participating in “Random Acts of Kindness Week” is just a small example that shows how everyone – regardless of how much money or time they have – can make a significant impact on the lives of others and help make the world a better place.


Mr. E and his 6th grade class standing below their "RAOK" posters

 Let our experienced lenders answer your mortgage questions to make getting a home loan easy.


MSIC NCUA Equal Housing Lender Intercept SUM

NMLS# 644173

Have feedback on our site? Let us know here!