Some Lovenotes notepads were recently given away at the Auckland Changemakers Convention.
We caught up with Lani Evans from ReGeneration, who hosted & coordinated the event, to talk about positive change, generosity and the community, and the RAK she performed at the Convention.
LN: How did you get involved with Lovenotes?
Lani: I met Amanda at one of the first ReGeneration events in 2009 and she spoke about Lovenotes then. I thought it was a fabulous idea – such a simple concept, well executed and effective!
LN: Tell us a little bit about the Random Act of Kindness that you performed at the recent Changemakers Convention – how did the crowd react?
Lani: I spoke on generosity at the Auckland Changemakers Convention alongside Kate Frykberg from the Todd Foundation and Philanthropy NZ. We spoke about financial giving, volunteering and acts of kindness – how these acts of generosity are good for us as individuals and as communities. At the end of the speech, we asked the audience to look beneath their chairs where we’d taped gifts! Lovenotes very generously donated notebooks to us for this event, so 100 lucky people were able to walk away with upcycled notebooks.
LN: Have you had any feedback about the Lovenotes notebooks that you gave away?
Lani: Yes! People loved them – they were perfect, pocket sized, up cycled and the designs on them were really beautiful :)
LN: The Random Act of Kindness happened during a speech on generosity – what sort of things did you talk about?
Lani: We talked about philanthropic giving, volunteering and acts of kindness. We shared our own experiences, as well as some interesting facts about the benefits.
I love reading research on generosity. The most interesting thing for me is that our brains are wired to be altruistic. When we do something nice for someone else – whether it’s volunteering, or mowing your neighbors lawn or putting $2 in the Rape Crisis fundraising tin – we get a sort of feel-good buzz that’s called a helpers high. There were a couple of neuroscientists in 2007 who decided to explore this helpers high a bit further. They found that when you commit acts of generosity you light up the same reward pathways in your brain as sex, and food – which suggests that we’ve evolved to to be altruistic. How cool is that!
LN: Do you have any advice for businesses or individuals who are looking to make positive change within their community?
Lani: There are three ideas that we try to communicate strongly at ReGeneration.
Firstly, we believe that the challenges we face are interconnected and that in the future we will need to break down the silos and start working holistically if we’re going to create a more just and sustainable future.
We believe that it’s more useful to take a positive approach to change, rather than an adversarial one. So we really encourage each other to get behind ideas that we like, as well as, or instead of fighting against the things we dislike.
And we believe that you don’t have to be a superhero to make a difference – small acts are just as important as big acts and making mistakes is a really useful way of learning.
LN: Tell us a little bit about the sort of things you do at Changemakers – what does your job involve?
Lani: I’m a co-convenor of the ReGeneration Trust – I am lucky enough to work full-time on something that I’m really passionate about.
Our kaupapa is to help support and develop young people who want to create positive social, environmental, cultural and creative change in their schools communities and workplaces. We do this through a series of innovative national and regional events, mentoring and skills development, the creation of resources to inspire and record change and by modeling collaboration and generosity.
My job involves organizing and facilitating events, designing new programs and methods of engaging, creating films and resources for schools and young people and pretty much everything else!
It’s great – I get to do positive change work, engage my creative side and spend time really thinking about how to tackle challenges.
LN: What sort of people or businesses would you like to hear from and how can they get involved?
Lani: Everyone! Everyone is a change maker and everyone has a story to tell :)