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Shelby Robinson

Baltimore, Maryland

Determined

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During a time of financial struggle, Shelby accompanied her friend to to pick up a job application from IHOP. As they waited they naturally waved and smiled at others in line. As they began expressing their disbelief that a simple activity, such as dining out was well out of their means, they chanced upon a stranger who would turn their day around in a memorable way.

quote-openRandom acts of kindness always seem to find Shelby, or maybe Shelby just finds a way to give back when given the opportunity.quote-close

While originally from upstate New York, Shelby moved to Baltimore which she now calls home. It was here that she got started with a youth group after attending church.

“I was always drawn to helping people, especially kids,” Shelby said.

As a teen, Shelby was involved with an organization called Teen Institute, which was a peer-leading program that encouraged others to be themselves and be a good person. Shelby carried this on when she began helping the children’s ministry by making them breakfast on Sundays, helping with dance class, and leading games. During the past year, she’s gotten more involved with the youth group and teens, and gotten close with the kids on a personal level through activities they mutually enjoy such as sports and music.

But it all takes on a little extra significance for Shelby.

“It’s so important, especially when some of these kids don’t have any family encouraging them to live positive lifestyles.”

It’s not only the kids in her youth group that she encourages every day, though. Shelby grew up with two siblings, TJ and Braden, and was always encouraged by her grandfather to look out for them.

“That’s what I’ve felt I needed to do since day one!” she said. “They encourage me and inspire me to be the best person I can be so I can provide for them and encourage them. I try to be a good role model for them and be a positive person they can look up to.”

It was when Life Vest Inside reached out to her brother, TJ Prodigy, to become a celebrity ambassador that she watched Kindness Boomerang and fell in love with LVI and all of their initiatives.

“What attracted me to LVI was the accepting and encouraging environment! From volunteers to kindness ambassadors, and the LVI staff.”

More recently, Shelby has moved into her own place and is hoping to create a new welcoming environment, not only for herself but for the kitten she took in a few months ago. After coming across three abandoned kittens in the woods behind a friend’s house, two were able to find a home, but one wasn’t and so Oliver, named after Oliver and Company, was adopted by Shelby and her boyfriend – a decision that has changed her life, and Oliver’s too!

“Oliver is doing great and has brought a lot of joy into my life, and it’s even better that my boyfriend and I know that we rescued him and gave him a better life.”

It’s decisions like the one to adopt Oliver, or help kids in her youth group, that have life changing effects. It was decisions like the one the woman at IHOP made to treat Shelby and her friend to lunch.

You see, that day wasn’t just any day – it was that woman’s birthday. She told Shelby and her friend that she didn’t want to eat alone and that the rest of her family lived overseas in Africa.

“We ate with her, laughed with her, and sang happy birthday to her,” Shelby said. “Not only did she treat us to lunch, she gave each of us $50 and said that she felt led to do it. She said no one ever randomly smiles or says hi to her because her attire was very traditional to her homeland and she is constantly judged for it.”

As Shelby continues to work with her youth group, provide a home for Oliver, and deliver small acts of kindness every day, she looks back to that day at IHOP which reminds her of the power of one small and simple act of kindness.

quote-openThis memory will always stick with me because it showed me that a small smile and a wave can mean a lot to someone, and you never know how your act of kindness might come back around to you like a boomerang.quote-close

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– Interviewed by David Beltran

David is a writer who loves talking and writing about people with stories of hope and inspiration. As a Blog Guru along with doing social media for Life Vest Inside, David is able to reach people around the world who also believe in spreading kindness and helping others and convey those stories in the Kindness Connection, Daily Kind, and Kindness Flash!

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MY PERSONAL GOAL:

Find a healthy balance to spend time with those who are important to me but also make sure all of my adulting is taken care of like work, bills, and house-work.

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FUN FACTS:

Favorite Song:
Love Yours by J Cole

Favorite Hobby:
Listening to music

One word to describe herself:
Determined