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Gabriella van Rij, 2017
Dec 29, 2017

Team Highlights for 2017

As the last few days of this year are slipping past at a very rapid rate, I feel the need to share the highlights of our team.

The biggest highlight knocked on my door in June as Tomoko, my right hand and head of our team, was able to come and visit us face to face. I would like to say that no matter how grand and connective Skype or Zoom and all the latest technology is, nothing can compare with meeting someone in person. Tomoko has been part of our team for the last 3 years, but we have never had the opportunity to meet in person. And there she was, the voice and face I have come to love and depend on was suddenly next to me. I could actually hug her and share a home-cooked meal with her. After she left, I was so grateful for this moment that we shared together that I felt compelled to let everyone share in this most beautiful highlight of 2017.

The second highlight is intertwined with two people I had the pleasure to re-meet for the first time in decades, Joyce and Danielle, two friends from another chapter in my life. It was truly amazing to see that you can just pick up where you left off, no need to know all about each other’s lives—all you need is true friendship, love, and understanding. Laughter and lots of giggles were part of these two special occasions. Also, both were so kind to offer any help with my team in the Netherlands. One thing I know, I won’t let too much time pass by before we meet again.

The third highlight is having a team member return after a hiatus. Christine, thank you so much for having such passion for the message of kindness and all that we try to accomplish as the #DareToBeKind team.

The fourth highlight is to have been elected in September as the Secretary General of the World Kindness Movement. What an honor to be able to collaborate with like-minded individuals and foundations all over the world for a cause near and dear to my heart: “Kindness” with a capital “K,” like I always say.

The fifth highlight is meeting Sabine in France who is a member of the World Kindness Movement. She not only made me feel instantly at home, but she also offered friendship and guidance to me personally and for the tasks ahead.

The sixth highlight is hiring Tom, a new agent for this team that is growing and expanding fast. Thank you, Tom, for not only believing in my message but also seeing the greater picture, so to speak. Welcome to the team!

The seventh highlight is meeting Allan who is a radio host and so much more. We had a chance to meet in person and we plan to collaborate on future work that will benefit families, communities, and children. Thank you for your support, and I so look forward to working with you in the New Year.

The eighth and last highlight of this year is that everyone on my team has been so forthcoming and kind in helping me for the last two months. They were my eyes while I went through two eye surgeries. Instead of writing my own emails, Bobbie and Tomoko stepped up to the plate to do all this extra work for me, without missing a beat. A big “thank you” to Bobbie, as you truly showed care and nurture in this difficult time and to Tomoko for always being there and helping out with every little minute detail. I have been gifted new eyesight in both eyes, which is due to my great surgeon, Dr. Bagga. I cannot even yet begin to fully comprehend how this is changing my day-to-day life. Thank you, Dr. Bagga, for your personal care and dedication with these complicated surgeries.

All these highlights for me are the truly beautiful, endearing, intangibles that I was so lucky to receive in 2017. I will treasure all eight as the best moments of a lifetime!