Sat 6/20 @ 11am – 4pm
The mission is simple — be kind. Do something nice for others… no matter how small. Not because it will somehow help you, or because you have an ulterior motive, but because it makes the world a better place. Plain and simple.
Ricky Smith knows a thing or two about doing nice things for others. A self-described “mix between Mother Theresa and Jackass,” Smith is a comedian who also runs the nonprofit R.A.K.E. (Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere), encouraging people to be kind in whatever way possible.
To drum up random acts of kindness, RAKE is hosting the first annual Run for #RAKE .5K at Liquid in the Warehouse District. Yes, a .5K because why run far when you don’t have to?! We spoke to the always enthusiastic Smith about the race and what’s next for RAKE.
CoolCleveland: Where did the idea for a short .5K come about?
Ricky Smith: A friend of mine Dan did the event a couple of years ago and brought it up to me. I thought it was equally genius and fun. I was like ‘why should someone have to run far just to have to show their support for a cause. Why not just keep it short and simple and include everyone!’
What can attendees expect at the race?
Fun with a side of fun. I’m a comedian who runs a nonprofit. No knock at anyone but I think charity fundraisers can be boring and stale. Nothing wrong with having fun while doing good. My goal is to always make as many people have as many fun memories as possible. Life is too short not to. So we are dressing in costumes, doing the .5k creatively, just having fun with it.
What’s new for RAKE in the upcoming year?
Some really cool things for #RAKE. Rolling out our education piece this fall with several colleges and schools across the country. Working with educators on incorporating the ‘pay it forward’ initiatives into their curriculum. Also a nationwide #RAKE Cross Country Tour starting July 1 with rapper/actor Machine Gun Kelly. We are doing a random act of kindness with his fans in every city he’s performing in and encouraging his millions of fans to do the same on that given day.
Aside from raising funds, what do you hope attendees take away from the event?
How many good people there are in the world. That’s been the best thing I’ve watched since starting #RAKE. The friendships that people form all over the country over a simple hashtag. It’s like a fun group of do-gooders around the globe.
Best way for people to get involved with RAKE?
Check out the website. Do something random for someone else and post it with the hashtag #RAKE. I know we were all raised that when you do good, don’t share it. But with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Vine, YouTube and all these platforms, why not show yourself doing good if it inspires and motivates others. That’s the fun of it. Being able to see the ripple effect.
Anything else you’d like to add?
That doing something nice for someone just doesn’t have to be for someone obviously in need. We all are going through something. Everyone. We might not show it or talk about it but we are. A kind gesture or word could mean the world to someone. I once bought a lady coffee at a Starbucks and she broke down crying. Told me her parents died the day before and she really really needed the random pick me up. $4.68. That’s all it took to make someone’s day. IF WE ALL DID ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS A DAY, IMAGINE HOW MUCH MORE FUN AND AWESOME THE WORLD WOULD BE!!!!
So run, but don’t run far and spread the goodness of RAKE.
Cool Cleveland correspondent Sarah Valek studied art and writing at Ithaca College. After graduation, she came back to Cle and served two years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. She can be found on all sides of the city in pursuit of homeschooling activities for her son and the perfect soy latte. Contact her at CoolEditor@CoolCleveland.com or via Twitter.