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Surprise! Here are 14 random acts of kindness to brighten your day

Today — Feb. 17 — is Random Acts of Kindness Day. To celebrate, we are sharing some of our favourite moments from Village Media's Random Acts of Kindness program
Ruki MacInnis (centre) is celebrated with a Random Act of Kindness from our CollingwoodToday team

In an effort to celebrate the extraordinary people who make our communities a better place, our Village Media Random Acts of Kindness program delivers special surprises to deserving individuals.

In honour of Random Acts of Kindness Day, we wanted to share some highlights from the last year of surprises we delivered to dedicated volunteers, resilient community members and those making a real difference in their hometowns.

The communities we run the Village Media Random Acts of Kindness program in include Barrie, Bradford, Burlington, Cambridge, Collingwood, Elora & Fergus, Guelph, Midland, Newmarket, North Bay, Orillia, Sault Ste, Marie, Stratford and Sudbury.


Known as the ‘Community Angels’, the Yusuf sisters spread kindness through local initiatives, making Newmarket a more positive place.

Manha and Laiba Yusuf (pictured above with NewmarketToday's Kelsy Chapman) team up to combat mental health stigma, food insecurity and homelessness in their community through fundraisers, accessible programs and organized events.

The sisters have collectively worked more than 4,000 volunteer hours to make these initiatives possible.

To thank the pair for their commitment to bettering their community, our NewmarketToday team surprised them with a Random Act of Kindness on Laiba's birthday.

Read more about our surprise for the Yusuf sisters here.


Shawn Abbott is a generous volunteer who donates his time and expertise in maintenance to Karis Disability Services in Orillia.

Shawn (pictured above with the Karis Disability Services team and OrilliaMatters' Nicole Parkes) makes time to help the organization with electrical work, replacing doors and windows, fixing leaks and building and replacing railings.

All of this work directly benefits the charity, which supports individuals living with developmental disabilities who require assisted living.

To let Shawn know that his kind deeds have not gone unnoticed, our OrilliaMatters team surprised him with a Random Act of Kindness to show the community’s gratitude for his work.

Read more about Shawn's surprise here.


In Bradford, we surprised stellar high school basketball coaches, Coach Damion and Mr. Edward, with a Random Act of Kindness.

The Bradford District High School basketball coaches (pictured above with BradfordToday's Gary Assis) were recognized for going above and beyond with their admirable dedication to the students they mentor.

Their positive influence on the Junior Boys Basketball team at Bradford District High School (BDHS) is evident to players, parents and teachers both on and off the court.

Read more about Coach Damion and Mr. Edward here.


In Sault Ste. Marie, we delivered a very special surprise to Addie and her family.

Three-year-old Addie (pictured above with her mom) received the news no family wants to hear: She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia just weeks before Christmas of 2022. Since then, she has had to travel for treatment, away from her siblings and the comfort of home.

For her first Christmas home since her treatment began, our SooToday team surprised Addie and her family with a Random Act of Kindness to brighten their holiday.

Watch us surprise Addie here.


In Guelph, we surprised a beloved retired teacher and long-time volunteer, Bonnie Jeanne Knight.

Bonnie Jeanne (pictured above with her friends and GuelphToday's Liz O'Donnell) has dedicated countless hours to volunteering with Stepping Stone, Loyola House and Royal City Church, helping some of the city's most vulnerable people.

To show Bonnie Jeanne our thanks for the quiet work she does to help make her community a better place for those in need, our GuelphToday team surprised her with gifts while she was at lunch with friends.

For more on Bonnie Jeanne's surprise visit here


Evelyn and Rowan Sulley are selfless siblings who made and sold ornaments to fundraise for the Groves Memorial Community Hospital.

The youngsters (pictured above with their parents and EloraFergusToday's Josh Prior) spread their kindness by making beautifully decorated Christmas tree ornaments to sell at the Elora Farmers Market, with all proceeds going to the Groves Memorial Hospital Foundation for medical equipment.

Lori Arsenault, Executive Director of Groves Memorial Hospital Foundation said it was “truly heartwarming” that the Sulleys, at such a young age, are already thinking about how they can help others.

“It is amazing to see the next generation of philanthropists,” she said.

In celebration of their generous spirits, we delivered a Random Act of Kindness to Evelyn and Rowan at their school.

Read more about our Random Act of Kindness for the Sulley siblings here.


In Burlington, we surprised Jamie MacIntyre with a Random Act of Kindness.

Jamie (pictured above with his wife Jenn and BurlingtonToday's Ted Lindsay) is a dedicated and devoted father who loves his community.

He can consistently be found helping others. Whether it is mowing the lawn, walking a pet, changing winter tires for a neighbour or just lending an ear when someone is down, Jamie has continued to care for everyone else, even as he faces his own health challenges.

We aimed to lift Jamie’s spirits and support him in his recovery journey as he faced a difficult diagnosis.

Read more about Jamie's surprise here.


Ruki MacInnis (pictured above surrounded by friends) is celebrated with a Random Act of Kindness from our CollingwoodToday team for her years of dedication to running a local tennis group.

Regardless of skill level, age or background, Ruki is attentive to everyone's wellness on and off the court. She goes out of her way to make the women in the tennis group feel welcomed and valued.

Ruki is a passionate, dedicated volunteer who has made tennis accessible and fun for many local women in Collingwood and our team was thrilled to celebrate her efforts.

Read more about Ruki here.


Aleshia Campbell (pictured above with her friend, left, and grandson) is a personal support worker in Cambridge, who has been providing compassionate care for others for the last 23 years.

A single mother of four children, she is also working toward completing her nursing diploma at Conestoga College.

“Aleshia’s journey is a testament to the fact that with unwavering dedication and a generous spirit, anyone can overcome challenges and achieve their dreams,” said her nominator, Amanda Hart.

“Aleshia possesses an exceptional ability to see the potential in everyone she encounters and she firmly believes in giving everyone a chance.”

Our CambridgeToday team was honoured to celebrate Aleshia with a Random Act of Kindness.

Learn more about Aleshia's journey here.


Megan Bouffard is a compassionate high school graduate who is making a difference for the natural environment in North Bay.

Megan has been caring for endangered monarch butterflies for years. She houses them, grows their food and cares for them as they turn into butterflies. Each year, she successfully releases approximately 50 to 60 butterflies.

To thank Megan for her dedication to making a difference for monarch butterflies, we surprised her with gifts to help her on her next step after graduation.

Read more about Megan here.


Known as a beloved teacher and selfless community member, Liz Herd has made it her mission to help those in need.

Following the heartbreaking loss of her son to suicide in 2015, Liz has devoted herself to providing unwavering support for individuals grappling with mental illness.

At the helm of Angels With Attitude, Liz orchestrates the collection of donations, assembling thoughtful gift baskets tailored for individuals and patients navigating the complexities of mental health challenges.

Our team surprised Liz to recognize the impact of the work she does to support individuals in the community battling mental health issues.

Read more about Liz and Angels with Attitude here.



Britt McKerrow is a long-time Rotarian who started a Random Acts of Kindness Day in Midland over a decade ago.

A firm believer that kindness is contagious, she has been an integral part of the Midland Rotary Club for the last 15 years.

Britt (pictured above with MidlandToday's Rick Gordon) encourages generosity, kindness and compassion in her community through the Random Act of Kindness Day she spearheads.

Who better to surprise with a Random Act of Kindness of their own than Britt?

See our surprise for Britt here.



Joan Harrington's story of kindness and resilience inspired our BarrieToday team to surprise her with a Random Act of Kindness.

The cancer survivor and caring grandmother beamed with joy when she was recognized for her perseverance and positivity.

A cancer survivor herself, Joan joined The Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer - a 200km race completed over two days.

Not only did Joan complete this enormous personal challenge, but she also inspired her local community to give, raising a remarkable $10,000 for cancer research.

Read more about Joan here.


In Stratford, we surprised a dedicated volunteer, mother and educator who has inspired others with her desire to improve the community.

A busy preschool educator, Carrie Wilson goes above and beyond the call of duty. She fundraises for local sports teams, coaches kids' teams and assists non-profits and charities with event planning and raising much-needed funds.

To see what we surprised Carrie (and her preschoolers!) with, read more here.

Do you know someone deserving of a Random Act of Kindness to brighten their day? Our nomination form is always open