Kindness Stories

Prior Chris Kindness Award Winners

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Chris Little – August Winner

Nominator said:
“Is it possible that kindness is simply a way of BEING? You will be convinced that it is possible when you meet my friend Chris.
A native of Berkeley, Chris can be seen around town doing what he does best, being KIND. You may spot him at a cafe, church, helping a friend with groceries, driving someone to an appointment, helping someone walk after surgery, playing hacky sack with local kids, surprising a little child with some dollar bills for her birthday, praying for someone, sending encouraging texts to brighten someone’s day, and listening to what’s on your heart. According to Chris, “It is easy to make someone’s day, often with very little or no effort.” He often thinks he “was put somewhere at a specific moment to help someone.” We need more of this type of kindness that reaches far beneath the surface, into your soul. I can’t think of a better recipient for this award than Chris. “

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Collin Doran – May Winner

Nominator said: Collin Doran, owner of the Homemade Cafe, gives free breakfast meals to anyone who needs them, no questions asked. He has been doing this for years. During the pandemic, so many people in Berkeley were experiencing food insecurity. Collin stepped up to help, feeding anyone who needs to eat breakfast but can´t pay for it. Collin has been doing this on his own initiative and covering these meals largely out of his own pocket. He has also inspired cafe patrons to donate $5 if they feel so inclined, following in his footsteps. Collin’s recurring kind actions are a wonderful example that all restaurants should replicate. Collin makes hungry Berkeley residents full and those witnessing his kindness are filled with hope that people are fundamentally decent.”

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Nancy Schiff – April Winner

Nominator said:  “Nancy has dedicated her life to helping generations of underserved youth through her 24 years leading the Center for Youth Development Through Law. Working with a demographic that typically sees 15-20% of youth graduate from high school, Nancy has led a program that has seen approximately 92% of its students go on to college. Nancy’s kindness goes far beyond her job duties. After students graduate from the program, Nancy continues to act as a mentor, supporter, and advisor as they face life’s challenges. As one program graduate states: “Outside the program, Nancy continues to remain committed to extending her hand to help. She has been a valuable resource to me as I’ve navigated through UCLA as a first gen student. She is  committed to community, mentorship, and passing the torch for diverse communities. As I prepare to graduate from UCLA and begin my law school application process, I am comforted.”  A former Board Chair noted: “The thing that sets her apart is that once you’ve joined the CYDL family, you are one of Nancy’s kids for life. Former students have come back to teach in the program, joined the board, and shown up to volunteer entirely because of the personal relationship they have with Nancy.”

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Egbert Villegas – March Winner

Nominator said “Egbert drove me to and from my doctor’s appointment last week. On our drive back, we saw a truck flipped over on the freeway. While others simply drove by the scene, Egbert sprung into action. He pulled over and ran to the truck to help the person who was still in the driver’s seat of the flipped over truck. People had no idea how to help the man get out of the car, Egbert helped the driver to recline his seat to be able to climb out of the car. The driver didn’t speak English, only Spanish. Fortunately, Egbert’s first language is Spanish and (since he’s studying medicine) he knew exactly which questions to ask the man in order to make sure he was okay. Once medics arrived, Egbert translated the information that the man had shared with him to the paramedics. Only once he knew the man would be okay was when Egbert left. Egbert is a Mexican immigrant and first-generation student studying Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley with the hopes of attending medical school. He’s been working since seventh grade to pay for his own tuition and help his family. Egbert’s care for others helped the man whose car had flipped over that day, and he springs to action to help others any chance he gets.”

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Carmen Garcia – Feb Winner


“Carmen Garcia is the friendly face behind the plexiglass at the Mobil station on University. She works the day shift, M-F. She was there throughout the pandemic, including those first few months when most of us rarely stepped outside and enjoyed the luxury of home delivery. When I relocated to Berkeley, I was coming off a traumatic year of loss. I was starting my life over, alone. On my way to work, I would stop by the Mobil station to grab a drink. But, boy did I I get so much more. Carmen somehow saw right through me, and her empathy made me feel welcome and safe. Her kindness breaks through the plexiglass as she makes every customer feel like a friend. Her warm hug is so welcome when I feel down, and her easy laugh can start my day off on the right foot. We have shared a holiday meal together, and I was honored to assist her daughter with some edits to her college essay. I had always assumed that I was Carmen’s “favorite” customer. But, I now know I am only one of many. Nearly everyone who stops by the Mobil station on University Avenue benefits from Carmen’s incredible kindness. Why would we go anywhere else for gas?!

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Bernie Peyton – Jan. Winner

Nominator said: “Bernie because he is a very generous and kind man. For the last 10 years, Bernie has volunteered his Thursday morning doing origami at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Bernie has worked with the sick children as well as with the siblings and parents. He supplies all the paper. He recently published a second book and in the book are pictures of the origami hats that he made for the kids who need them.  According to Bernie’s wife, Thursday is the best day of the week for him. He is patient and brings smiles and laughter to the children. It is my pleasure to know him as a friend and neighbor.

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Alisa Jackson, Dec. Winner

Alisa Jackson was our December winner. Her nominator said: “Alisa is known for her random acts of kindness, especially for the homeless. She takes her personal finances and prepares meals, purchases blankets for those she sees sleeping in doorways. She also is passionate about helping youth and runs a non-profit teaching financial literacy and gives school supplies to those she identifies as at risk and underserved. She stays prepared to offer a smile, a hug or even a sandwich to share with someone who may be hungry. Alisa is pictured here next to former award finalist, Ed Monroe. Ed is an artist/muralist who focuses on art representing the disabled.”

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Michele Williams, Nov. Winner

Michele Williams was our November winner. Her nominator said: “My child has special needs and, as a result, has almost no friends. But the one friend who reaches out every other month to get together is his 3rd grade teacher, from 4 years back. With kids of her own and all week spent teaching other children in BUSD, she still regularly asks my child for a Peets meet-up to hear how he is doing and catch up. Knowing his love of WW2 history, she has brought him books her elderly father finds around town. They also share a love of elephants and Peets lemon bars. He glows when he hears that Ms. Williams wants to meet for their impromptu chats. We are humbled by her thoughts of him and dedication to a kid that needs a little friendship.”

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