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Smile Project Louisville spreads kindness in Bakersfield

The power of making others smile
Posted at 5:28 AM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 09:39:22-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Michael Ray was inspired by his daughter to create his organization Smile Project Louisville. She has down syndrome and is nonverbal.

“I often tell people if you’re a parent, we take for granted those three simple words from our kids, ‘I love you.’ I’ve never heard that from her but I don’t need to hear it because I feel it when she smiles at me," he said.

And he wants to share that feeling with others through his organization.

Russ Semepll is a teacher in Bakersfield. He heard Michael was visiting Los Angeles and asked him to pay a visit to his neighbor Chris Spears.

"Chris is always meeting with me out in the street, picking up everybody’s trash cans, going for morning walks," said Russ.

Through his Smile Project, Michael surprises people with random acts of kindness. He and Russ got some neighbors together to bring Chris’ family balloons, gift cards and cookies

“This family is special. They’re rock solid. Just like the rest of our neighbors here," said Russ.

And Chris was truly surprised.

“I’m really, [really] so loved. I really like it," he said.

Michael said he hopes moments like this make others feel appreciated.

“We try to give them that jolt of positive energy and love through the beauty of smiling," said Michael.

Kern's Kindness is a weekly segment dedicated to bringing you positive, uplifting stories. If you have a story idea, email us at kernskindness@kero.com.