The founder of a United Kingdom-based nonprofit stopped in Del Rio during a cross-country bicycle trip to raise awareness for her cause and to generate donations in the form of acts of kindness.
Nahla Summers, 38, recently started Sunshine People to encourage people to share their good deeds in hopes to spread kindness around the world. Her current campaign aims to generate one act of kindness for each mile of her 3,055 bike journey.
“There is a powerful ripple effect that kindness has,” Summers said. “Even just talking about it encourages people to be kinder each day.”
Summers recently embarked on her trip across
the U.S. to raise awareness for her cause, as her videographer, Jason Smith, 22, drives a rental van along her path. The two are traveling from San Diego, Calif. to St. Augustine, Fla., over the course of two months.
Del Rio Chamber of Commerce officials Blanca Larson and Mayte Casas met with Summers and Smith Thursday afternoon to welcome the England natives to the Queen City.
“You never know what a random act of kindness can do for one person,” said Larson.
“And then it will snowball,” Casas added. “Something small just lifts your day up.”
The two travelers said they were immediately greeted by kindness while entering Del Rio. While experiencing car troubles, the two stopped at Holiday Trav-L-Park on Highway 90 where they were greeted with assistance and offered shower and laundry facilities.
The idea of Sunshine People, Summers said, was created from a place of her own grief. After the death of her partner in 2012, Summers wrote a book titled, “44 Rays of Sunshine: Inspiration Comes from Those Willing to Share,” and ditched her career in facilities management for a new career as a life coach.
Summers encourages people to donate their acts of kindness on her organization’s website and hopes the gestures of others will encourage people to share their own experiences. Any act from holding a door open for a stranger to volunteering at a local charity is worth recognition, she said.
“Anybody can do it. It doesn’t cost anything and there’s no competition as to whether you’re rich or poor,” Smith said. “It’s how big the act of kindness is.”
Summers said she plans to incorporate her organization’s mission into schools as an approach to preventing bullying. The program, she said, will teach students about emotional intelligence and how to process their feelings.
“A lot of what Sunshine People is about is generating a different idea around anti-bullying,” Summers said. “Instead of talking about bullying, let’s talk about generating more about kindness.”
The two travelers will continue their journey to Fredericksburg, through Austin and onto Houston. They document their experience on Facebook at @sponsorkindess.