There’s nothing more gratifying than making someone’s day a little brighter. No matter how small the act, spreading kindness goes a long way. Sure, there are certain times of the year when we get into the spirit of things and seem to be more aware of how important kindness is, but the impact is so much greater when we can incorporate it into our everyday lives. Here at SAGA Construction, we work hard to be our ‘best selves’ every day; this includes taking care of the people in the community through partnerships and the giving of our time to improve the lives of others.

Tasty Treats For the last two years we’ve made a concerted effort to share some kindness as a company within our community. Our “Sharing Smiles” initiative involves different activities each month that started out as fun, anonymous acts of kindness to folks like first responders, teachers and public servants in the Outer Banks. These hard-working people truly appreciated our surprise visits bearing goodies like coffee and donuts, cakes, pizza and other delicious treats when we’d stop by the fire station, post office, police department, UPS office, etc. unannounced.

Health Benefits We believe that recognizing these organizations not only has a positive emotional impact on the individuals, but on ourselves as well. Did you know there are physical as well as emotional benefits from random acts of kindness? Here are a few:

· Increase your happiness level. On a biochemical level, acts of kindness actually increase the body’s natural dopamine levels, often referred to as the “Helper’s High”

· Kindness is heart healthy. With kindness comes emotional warmth, which can help to dilate blood vessels and may lower blood pressure

· Feel younger! The same emotional warmth we experience is connected to the reduction of free radicals and inflammation in the body. Two culprits of the aging process (and heart disease)

· Kindness is infectious. It encourages us to be kind when kindness is bestowed on us. Think “pay it forward” philosophy. You can learn more about the effects of kindness in this Huffington Post article.

Spreading Joy We’ve continued this tradition, and upped the ante as well. In addition to periodic deliveries to our helpful neighbors, we’ve taken it a step further by helping those who could physically and mentally benefit from our kindness. SAGA Construction teamed up with Peak Resources – Outer Banks, a nursing & rehabilitation community, to come up with a plan to truly make an impact on the well-being of their residents. This has evolved over the years into a wonderful relationship; creating memories for our employees and the Peak residents by putting together something special for them every year. Typically carried out during the holiday season, our employees come together on a volunteer basis and meet with the coordinator at Peak Resources to determine what their folks might need (including family and friends who come to visit). Past gifts have included warm, cozy blankets and throws, fruit baskets, deluxe coffee, goodie bags that include warm socks and hand lotion, various crafts and more. The gifts are nice, but what’s even nicer is the delivery! We choose a day to visit the center, and a group of SAGA employees head over to spend some time with the residents. We hand deliver each item and spend time chatting and laughing with them — we have an absolutely fun and emotionally fulfilling time! The number of residents varies anywhere from 75 to just under 100, so we spread lots of joy on that day.

We plan to continue this tradition, and hope that you come up with a tradition of your own as well. There are so many benefits to giving and kindness, the possibilities are endless.