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Albany group honoring Newtown victims with kindness

ALBANY -- Most people are familiar with the phrase "random act of kindness." The feel-good words, however, are not often put into practice, but a local teachers' sorority is looking to change that.

The sorority sisters of Alpha Delta Kappa felt the trauma, fear and tragedy of those who lost loved ones during the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December in which 26 people -- mostly children -- lost their lives in a shooting rampage.

"We wanted to do something to honor those who lost their lives, and we came up with this," said retired teacher Rachel Dorough. "This" is performing 26 Random Acts of Kindness toward total strangers.

"We decided to do this at our last meeting in February," Dorough said. "We gave each person three sheets of paper, one with suggestions another with slips of paper bearing the names of all 26 Sandy Hook victims and a log sheet to record the acts of kindness."

Dorough said there are 42 members in the sorority and that she had already done "five or six" acts of kindness ranging from buying meals and coffee to a family's Easter shopping basket at Target.

"These acts are not necessarily for the needy or the poor. They are random acts toward total strangers at unexpected times," she said. "And it's not all about money. It can be helping a person load stuff into their car or helping pick up things they have dropped. I've donated a lot to charity in my life and this is totally different. ... All you really have to do is be a nice, decent person to do it."

Dorough says the group has not yet had the chance to compare notes on the project.

"We will share notes during our summer social," Dorough said. "We'll talk about it and get ideas from other people. So far it's been a lot of fun."

Here is the list of suggestions for 26 Random Acts of Kindness:

1) Compliment a stranger

2) Buy the groceries of the person behind you in line

3) Leave candy on someone's windshield

4) Buy coffee for the person behind you in line

5) Volunteer -- anywhere -- even if you only have an hour to spend

6) Give up your seat

7) Give some food to a homeless person

8) Purchase something from a stranger's registry

9) Lend something to someone. Tell them they can keep it.

10) Leave a gift card anywhere -- in a classroom, drive-through window, conference room

11) Buy lunch for a stranger

12) Bake cookies for a neighbor you've never met

13) Help a stranger carry things to his or her car

14) Leave cash in a stranger's mailbox

15) Leave a (still packaged) present in a public place

16) Pay a toll for the person behind you

17) Put a "You're awesome" note on someone's desk

18) Give a hot drink to the person ringing the Salvation Army bell

19) Take flowers to an area nursing home or hospital

20) Give a gift card to an employee at the store who helps you find something

21) Pay for a stranger's gas

22) Give a mailman a gift

23) Take a trip to the dollar store for gifts for any neighborhood kids

24) Leave extra money in a vending machine

25) Leave a Just Thinking of you card with a Bible verse in a doctor's waiting room

26) Give a piece of nice clothing or shoes to the needy.