An NBA Team With A Kind Voice


A Kind Voice on Sports was honored to talk with Dan Mahoney, Vice President of Corporate Communications and Community Relations with the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. In his interview with host Demetrius Means, Dan shared the remarkable story of Lorelei Decker and her victory in her battle with cancer. Please click here to read the full story of how she has been inspired by the Oklahoma City Thunder and how she has inspired them. You don’t want to miss the very touching video at the bottom of the story.

Lorelei Decker

He also discussed the wonderful community of Oklahoma City and their special relationship with the team. To spite being the third smallest market in the NBA, their season ticket sales and renewals are among the highest in the league. The organization is never satisfied with where they are and is always trying to get better. As a community Oklahoma City has been through a lot of disasters, which have helped bring the community closer together.

What jumped out at me, during the interview is his desire to get every detail right and give credit to others. When discussing the Lorelei Decker story, Dan was quick to point out that all the other NBA teams do great work and talked about the NBA Cares program. As we work to tell the stories of people and organizations doing positive work, we have invited other professional sports teams to come on our program and tell us about how they help in their community. A few have accepted our invitation, but the Thunder was the first. If you listen to the interview (below) you will hear an authentic kind voice who is part of an amazing organization that is a source of positive energy both on and off the court.

Thanks to Dan Mahoney and the Oklahoma City Thunder.



The Alchemy of Kindness

Alchemy is to separate and to join together. Alchemists combined common metals into gold. The transmutation of common metals into gold symbolized evolution from an imperfect state towards a perfect state. At A Kind Voice we believe in the Alchemy of Kindness. Two strangers joining in a conversation, with the intention of sharing and being kind to the other are practicing the Alchemy of Kindness.

Alchemy is turning common metals into gold. Kindness on Russian Dashboard Cameras contains examples of people who responded to the odd shaped circumstances life offers us, with the kindness in their hearts and created something better than gold.


If there was an Anthem that captured the spirit of The Alchemy of Kindness this would be it.

It is inspiring how one lone kind voice can transform an entire arena into a beautiful symphony of kind voices. Using the kindness in our hearts to connect with strangers in their moment of need, large or small, could have an amazing impact on that moment as well as a ripple effect impacting future moments.


The Alchemy of Kindness



Games are played for fun and the challenge of doing our best. The processes used by games, such as Scrabble, can be transplanted into other endeavors making those endeavors more fun and efficient. In Scrabble the objective of each turn is to take the random letters on your tray and create a word that connects with the pattern on the Scrabble board in a way that scores the most points.

The tiles on each player’s tray can be metaphor for the thoughts and energy that live inside him or her. Each day we try to connect those thoughts and energy with other patterns, say business patterns, just as the Scrabble players try to connect his tiles with the pattern on Scrabble board.
By connecting with a business pattern we get dollars instead of points. Learning new skills places higher valued tiles on our trays, that when connected with a business patterns will get us more money. More lucrative businesses leverage our energy, as placing ones tiles on a triple word score multiples ones points in Scrabble. IBM’s Serious Games uses processes found in games to make businesses more efficient.

At A Kind Voice we are creating a kind of Scrabble board. The shared experiences of movies, books, sports, music, etc… create a common frame of reference for people to connect their tiles with. Volunteers available to discuss personal issues or experiences also create a place for those who need to talk, to connect with. Our game has been designed to create a bridge allowing callers to connect with a pattern of hope, love and kind energy.

It also has the randomness of some of our favorite games. A call can connect a school teacher in Portland with a construction worker in Albuquerque. Speaking with a stranger from a different place, can be both fun and a good learning experience.

When people connect to share the kindness in their heart, no individual scores need to be kept as the objective is to create community prosperity, so that everyone who plays wins. Each call fulfills our mission of making the world a kinder, more connected place, one conversation at a time.

A Kind Voice is just getting started, each conversation, radio program, song created, piece of social media content shared, is helping to create a web of kind voices. The end game is for there to be a kind voice will be available whenever and wherever one is needed.

Seeds + Pattern


Travels with Charley

Travels with Charley was one of John Steinbeck’s final novels. It’s about a journey he made across America with his dog named Charley in a vehicle called Rocinante, named after Don Quixote’s horse. He wanted to see America first hand, so he could write from experience. He aimed to “tell the small diagnostic truths which are the foundations of the larger truth.”

His journey starts in New York, heads up to Maine, then West to Washington State. He is a master story teller, telling us of the colorful people he met along the way, brilliantly mixing interesting conversation with insightful narration. It is a warm book, with some humor mixed in.
One of the most thought provoking sections of the book occurs in New Orleans. He arrived there during the Fall of 1960 to attend a demonstration against Ruby Bridges, a six year old girl who was courageously becoming the first African American to attend an all white elementary school in the South. He was sickened by the hateful words and actions during the demonstration, but would “not let illness blind me after I came so far to look and to hear”.

He acknowledged that there are many haters in the world, but asked “Where were the others?” and concluded “I don’t know where they were. Perhaps they felt as helpless as I did, but they left New Orleans misrepresented to the world. The crowd, no doubt rushed home to see themselves on television, and what they saw went out all over the world, unchallenged by the other things I know are there.”
Writing so beautifully in the America of 1960, was his way of challenging the hatred, that was left unchallenged on that day in New Orleans. His words inspired some of the other things he “knew were there” to materialize.
His words continue to inspire today and are one of the inspirations for starting A Kind Voice. His question, ‘Where were the others?’, can be extracted from the circumstance he was writing about and placed into the circumstances many of us encounter in our everyday lives.
At A Kind Voice we share stories about people using their kind voice to make our world a kinder, more connected place, one act at a time. We share these stories to honor those who lived them and to inspire others to use their stories as source material, to create their own stories.


John Steinbeck Travels

John Steinbeck and his Travels with Charlie are there for all to read. Rocinante and some of the authentic articles from their journey are in a museum. His thoughts, their journey, live on and continue to inspire new stories. The story of A Kind Voice is one of the living stories their journey has inspired. We hope that you join us on this journey.


A Conversation with David Rowen

Music is one of the great communicators. It transcends all barriers and boundaries, and is understood by everyone. Musician Bob Marley once said, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Our guest on October 8th, actor/musician David Rowen, echoes this sentiment: He uses his love of music to uplift and instill joy in people.


David is very clear about his mission; his passion is apparent and genuine. Being a musical theater performer, he is no stranger to the immediate and intimate effects of music on live audiences. Now he is transmitting those same effects to a larger audience through his YouTube channel and music videos. Currently, he has an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a music video with a special purpose. The video is David’s interpretation of the Sister Act 2 song, ‘Joyful, Joyful.’ He has chosen this song because it resonates with so many people and fosters a sense of community.

About 40 of his friends volunteered their time and talents to bring his project to life. The people featured in the video are from different areas of David’s life, and are now forever interconnected thanks to ‘Joyful, Joyful.’ He feels this song is vital due to America’s current state of social unrest. He simply wants to make people happy, feel unified, and give them a sense of hope.

Originally, David created his YouTube channel as an outlet for his musical creativity and collaborations. However, when his Facebook newsfeed was inundated constantly with people upset with today’s social climate, he altered his plans. He wanted to showcase cultural diversity, hope, and people united by a common purpose.

Version 5

David also wanted to impact something tangible that could change and save lives. Consequently the music video benefits TAPS (Teen And Police Service) Academy, an organization that promotes trust and fosters relationships between at-risk youth and police officers, by raising awareness and support for the organization. At first, David was uncomfortable asking people to donate to his campaign. But he soon realized that the mission took on a life of its own, and was more important than his comfort level. If it was just for self-serving purposes, David believed he wouldn’t have done it. However, it was through this process that he found his authentic voice, and used it to spread more kindness and joy.

David hopes to inspire many people and affect change through the power of music. He feels that music can impact social change because it transcends language. People can understand the emotions conveyed, therefore making music a powerful tool that is enjoyed by all. He eloquently shares his insights about his project, society, and hopes for the future during his conversation with us.




The college experience… a time of growth and exploration in one’s life. As young adults gain independence, they are faced with life-changing choices. For example, the choice to drink or take drugs. A typical view of college life includes partying with alcohol. But what if a person doesn’t want to drink? Jake White, our October 1st guest, challenges these norms. His organization, Party.0, offers college students an alternative to drinking with ‘sober parties.’ The name ‘Party.0’ is a play on a breathalyzer test, hoping that students will blow ‘ .0’ and remain alcohol free. Currently, Jake has an Indiegogo campaign to support his crusade: to travel across the USA and help one college per state start their own Party.0 chapter.

Jake is very enthusiastic and focused about his mission. The 25 year-old Oshkosh, Wisconsin native was inspired to created Party.0 based on his own college experience. He didn’t drink or do drugs, which made him feel like a campus outcast on the weekends. In fact, he hid the fact that he didn’t ‘party’– as in drink or do drugs– for two years because he feared what others thought. It was this feeling that led him to create a party alternative to drinking and drugs. With his friend Steve, Jake threw his first sober party. They spread the word about the first party, and only expected about 30-40 students. He was surprised– and caught unprepared– when twice as many showed up. In Jake’s opinion, he thought the first party was terrible. However, over 90% of the students who attended told him they enjoyed it. At that moment, he knew he was onto something. He started to hold parties once to twice a month and taught it to others.

Party.0 differs from other sobriety programs because it is peer-led and sustainable. Jake believes change begins with the students. To change the prevailing campus culture that believes drinking and good times go together, the students must show there are alternatives. Also Party.0 is simply not telling the students, ‘Don’t drink.’ Activities like music, games, and food are provided to keep students entertained.

Jake is planning for the future. He believes Party.0 is more than an organization; it’s a movement. Although he is currently focused on colleges, Jake is also piloting a high school program. His goal is have young people be positively engaged, feel comfortable with themselves, and not succumb to peer pressure. Jake has learned a surprising lesson from this experience: By standing out, he didn’t have to seek people out to fit in. He created an environment– a community– that attracted like-minded people. Because he was true to himself, it allowed others to feel comfortable and be themselves. Jake wonderfully articulated his vision during our program.



A Dancing Celebration of People and Place

Renowned choreographer Martha Graham once said, “Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.” Our September 24th guest, photographer Jonathan Givens, seems to know this first-hand. Like the pioneers of yesteryear, he also explored the land of America– but with a twist. He danced across the USA.
Yes, Jonathan danced across the USA. Jonathan’s photography project, called Dance Across The USA, celebrates both the beauty of dance and US national parks. His warmth, humor, and enthusiasm about his project is boundless. Through his CrowdRise campaign, he is raising both money and awareness for our nation’s arts education and parks. With his camera, dancers, and a reliable RV nicknamed ‘The Mighty Buford’ in tow, Jonathan road tripped for 3 months across the continental US, and flew to Alaska & Hawaii. The shutterbug took pictures of dancers of all skill levels, from ages 3-61, in various dance movements in national parks and historic sites. Jonathan deliberately chose dancers from various backgrounds to show that dance is accepting of everyone; he wanted the pictures to appeal to people from all walks of life.

Although the project was planned, Jonathan shares that it wasn’t without its challenges: weather, location changes, lost equipment, dancers dropping out at the last minute. Through it all, he maintained a positive attitude because he never knew what would happen. Spontaneity wasn’t necessarily bad; in fact, sometimes it helped his project. Thanks to spontaneous moments, the environment lent itself to certain styles of dance. If an environment was serene, for example, the dancers would do subtle gestures. It showed how dances blend with the environment.
One of the things Jonathan loved the most was the creation of family atmosphere. He and the dancers created a community so they would keep in touch after the project. He was also inspired by the perseverance and strength from one the dancers–Shannon from Florida, who danced despite discovering she had a tumor (that she affectionately named ‘Pablo’) in her leg.

Jonathan reveals that throughout his journey, he learned people are awesome. He discovered that sometimes you can depend upon the kindness of strangers. During one of his shoots, he had a conversation with a curious bystander. The same curious bystander left a cup of coffee on his vehicle; Jonathan was touched. He was also moved by the support of his wife, Leigh-Ann, who is also the source of his inspiration. She makes him a better person, which inspires him to use his voice for kindness. It was a weird and wonderful journey, as Jonathan beautifully shares his story during our show (below).


Building Community One Lawn at a time

Today’s story is really interesting, it comes from Huntsville, Alabama where a man named Rodney Smith who is an average guy who grew up on the island of Bermuda, where he watched his dad help people build houses and that spirit of giving got ingrained in him from a young age. Rodney is a college student is soon to graduate and he decided to start a lawn cutting service in Huntsville, Alabama called “Raising Men Lawn Care Service”.


This is not your average lawn care service though, the focus for this company is on helping people that are less fortunate and may struggle to cut their own lawns. The pivotal point that made Rodney realize he needed to help the less fortunate in this area was when he witnessed an elderly man in his neighborhood struggling to cut his grass, and he said quote” I thought I needed to do something about it” and he decided to cut lawns for the elderly, disabled and single mothers for free. His initial goal was to cut 40 lawns for free, however he reached that goal in 6 weeks and soon after reached 100 lawns.


The number of people he desired to help was overwhelming for just him, so he decided to join forces with a guy in his neighborhood, Terrence Story and together they started recruiting the young men and women in their neighborhoods to help with the lawns. They didn’t stop there though, they realized that they also had an opportunity to teach the kids they were recruiting, responsibility, respect, and giving. Rodney says “I want boys to follow in my footsteps and be better than me and give back”.

Naturally once the news of this movement started spreading around Huntsville, Alabama, not only did they get more requests for lawn help, but they also received an outpouring of kindness from across the country, including receiving lawn equipment, gasoline and even free maintenance on the equipment, as donations from people who really want to see this organization go bigger. One of their big contributors has been Briggs & Stratton, the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment; they provided the men with lawn equipment and paid off the original GoFundMe goal of $2,000.00, and more and more donations are pouring in, in support of their vision.


The reason I chose this story this week is because it’s a story of humanity, and it’s a story of kindness. There is something special about sacrificing your time to help someone else that you see needs your help, and these men and doing that every day, they are choosing to go help the elderly that struggle with cutting the grass, and help the single moms who may not have time or the resources to cut the grass themselves, and to help the disabled, who for physical or mental reasons are not able to do it themselves. It’s fascinating that they realized early on that cutting peoples grass is part of their mission but that the other part of the mission is to mentor young men, and teach them respect and kindness, and work ethic.

The time these men and putting into the helping their neighbors and the young people in their neighborhood, is priceless. The homeowners are never going to forget their kindness and I’m sure they will want to pass on the kindness they have received, and the young men and women that volunteer will never forget the mentorship and lessons they will learn, and I’m sure they will carry them throughout their lives, and continue passing on the spirit of kindness throughout their journey. This story is super inspiring, and really touches the heart of humanity and shows that, kindness is contagious and that there is no payment needed to make a small difference in a person’s life.
Quote of the Week: “Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” by Desmond Tutu.

Each One, Reach One


This week’s story is really cool, it comes from Woodbridge, Virginia, where a 29 year old woman named Lauren Puryear is taking the new craze called “Extreme Couponing” to a new level. She is using her couponing skills to buy groceries cheap and a lot of times for free, so that she can feed the homeless. The process is not as easy as one may think though, it involves rounding up numerous copies on the Sunday Circular Coupons, finding coupons online, and enlisting friends and family to scour for deals as well. Then once the coupons are located and cut and matched up to the stores, she then hits the stores, before work, after work, and during lunch breaks to get around the caps limits on certain promotions. Once all the food is stockpiled, she turns them into tasty, healthy meals for the local homeless population, and she’s not just making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches either, she creates dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, baked chicken with rice, or cold-cut sandwiches. Lauren buys the groceries out of pocket. While she often pays next-to-nothing for ingredients thanks to her extreme bargain-hunting, she has also arranged deals with meat distributors to get rock-bottom prices, like 50 pounds of chicken for $16, as she did recently. She stores food in her deep freezer and picks up oversized pots and pans whenever she sees a deal in discount stores. They set up tables and serve the dishes right on the street, to any unsheltered people in need of food, serving about 100 to 500 people at a time. So far she’s fed over 5,000 people on a shoestring budget, securing rock-bottom deals on food items through couponing.
Not only does Lauren have a heart of gold, but she is very smart, she has her PHD in psychology and works full time as a director at a mental health clinic. Although she has a full time job, she takes making food for the homeless a priority in her life. As the word spread around about her efforts, and more and more people in need came out to get meals, she decided to enlist help from her friends and family and people in her community and she also decided to start her own organization called “For the Love of Others”. The organization helps people in need through various community outreach events. One of these events involves buying food, preparing it and distributing meals to people who need it most. So I know you’re wondering where did this idea come from? Well it all started a few years back, after the passing of her grandmother, who always found a way to give back in their hometown of Patterson, New Jersey. “If her grandmother saw someone panhandling, she’d pull over and talk to them—not just give them money, but make sure they were OK,” Lauren says quote “I felt it was my obligation to keep her legacy going.” Family is really important to Lauren and she is determined to continue to pass on the baton that her grandmother passed on to her, Lauren is a single mother of a 5 year old boy who really enjoys helping his mom handout condiments and make sure the volunteers are wearing gloves, Lauren says “It is very important to teach my son to help other people”, and “The little things we take for granted like the food we throw away every day..if we just spread a little more love around, the world would be such a better place”. Lauren hopes to feed 30,000 people by her 30th birthday, on Sept. 14, 2017. According to Lauren, the effort is all worth it though, for the comments alone she gets from her eager diners. “We take pride in providing quality meals,” Lauren said, “and all the time, I hear, ‘Thank you, this is the first meal we’ve had in a couple of a days.’”
The reason I wanted to share this story with you is because it’s a story of giving and a story of compassion. I think it’s interesting that this woman took something she is good at doing, like extreme couponing, and decided to help people around her that are hungry. So many times we see people that ignore the needs of others and hope that someday it will get better, but I love the fact that Lauren stepped up to the plate and chose to sacrifice her time to help those around her that need it. Many of us take eating food every day for granted, and some of us waste food, not realizing that there are people that don’t eat for days at a time because they can’t afford food. I hope this story has inspired you to get involved in either donating to Lauren’s organization to help her continue to feed people, or to even donate food to your local food bank, or better yet, start your own movement to help feed the hungry. If you would like to donate to Lauren’s organization and learn more about the work she is doing, please visit the “For the Love of Other’s page on Facebook. I hope this story has not only inspired you, but moves you to take action to help those in need around you.
I leave you with the quote of the week from mother Theresa, “If you can’t feed 100 people, then just feed one”.

Using Your Kind Voice To Feed Hungry Children

A Kind Voice Radio is a kind of exploration to learn about how people are using their kind voices to share the good within. We tell the stories of what they do, how they go about doing it and their motivations.


One of the wonderful people we met on this journey is Claire Bloom, a retired Navy officer, who when she found out there were hungry children in the town where she lives Dover, New Hampshire, created a program called End 68 Hours of Hunger, whose mission is to end childhood hunger one school at a time.


The program has spread from Dover to over 40 schools in 7 states. It is entirely volunteer based, with 100% of the funds raised going to feed hungry children. The program’s website has very clear videos on what they do and how you can add your kind voice to the beautiful music they are creating.


Below is a new radio spot we created for End 68 Hours of Hunger, that will be regularly played on our programs. The spot features Bruce Graml one of our original hosts and part of his wonderful song the Alchemy of Kindness.



A True Fairytale

You can’t change the past. It is what it was. But you can change what it means by the things that you do in the time that comes afterwards.

Our guest on yesterday’s episode of A Kind Voice on Movies, Angie Kupper, is mixing the raw materials of tragic and joyful events from her past and creating a new rich soil where good stuff can grow.

Her documentary, Finding Your Fairytale, is about a space where people connect their struggles and stories with that of fairytale characters from stories like Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland to create their own happy endings. In the interview below she shares the beautiful story she and her collaborators are creating.


The documentary is just the beginning, the core idea behind the project, can be taken in many different directions and Angie has created a non-profit organization to do just that.

Every journey has a first step or phase and in this journey the first phase is to get this documentary made and then to expose it to as large an audience as possible. For more information about how you can help and to see a beautiful video of the project please check out Angie’s Kickstarter video.



Creating New Currents of Kindness

In 1960, John Steinbeck set off on a 10,000 mile journey across America in a camper with his dog, Charley. He knew he did not have long to live and he wished to see America up close, one last time. He felt that as a writer, he was no longer familiar with the country he wrote about and he wished to change that. Travels with Charley: In Search of America tells the story of this journey, and it would be one of Steinbeck’s last books.


Towards the end of his journey, Steinbeck arrived in New Orleans just in time to witness history. A six year old African-American girl, Ruby Bridges, was attending an all white school; this was the first time this had occurred anywhere in the South. Quite a number of people were unhappy about this and staged a demonstration. There, in front of TV cameras, they threw tomatoes and shouted insults at a young girl who did not understand what people were so angry about.

The incident troubled Steinbeck. He knew not everyone agreed with the actions of the crowd on that day, but people watching it on TV would see only hate.


Steinbeck was left wondering, “Where were the others?” The others being those who did not agree with the crowd. He decided that they probably felt frustrated and powerless, so they did not show up to the demonstration.

This question is a major reason why A Kind Voice exists. We tell the stories of people using their kind voices so it’s never in doubt where the others are. They are all around us, and hearing their stories can help us connect and inspire others who need to hear a kind voice.

Using your kind voice does not require you to be a part of history, like Ruby Bridges was. Sometimes it just requires you to be an observer in life. Author Anne Riley and her husband started a program called play it forward, after they noticed that the park they lived across from was barely used. This was an opportunity to enact positive change. Their goal for the program was simple: if you live near a community park, leave basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, etc; with the stipulation that they are free to be used by anyone, as long as they remain in the park. The program was a success, but what really surprised Anne was how people adapted the program in ways that she had never envisioned, such as leaving a fishing rod by a lake or stream for anyone to use. Using your kind voice can produce unanticipated results.

Being an observer in life also lets you benefit from these unexpected opportunities. Artist Jennifer Chenoweth has experienced this many times. When writing proposals for grants or exhibitions, she discovered that sometimes receiving a no wasn’t necessarily a rejection. Occasionally, rejected proposals would find their way to people who actually offered her a more desirable opportunity. In her own words, “it’s kind of like the seed you planted in one place actually got picked up and took root somewhere else and sprouted.”


When John Steinbeck set out across America he wanted to meet the kind of people who are seldom written about. In her essay Always Be Cool To The Pizza Dude, Sarah Adams is also writing about someone who usually isn’t written about. Although the essay is about her personal philosophy of why she is always kind to pizza delivery people, the pizza dude can be a metaphor for anyone: someone that needs a break, who is working hard for not a lot of money. We’ve all been there, that’s why it’s important to show them empathy. When we project our kind voice toward the pizza dude, we are creating currents of kindness that benefit us and those around us, sometimes in ways we can’t immediately fathom.

Steinbeck encountered many such people on his journey. The mission of A Kind Voice is to bring stories to light that we don’t often hear about in today’s world. Just as Steinbeck wanted to experience America first hand and write about what he saw, A Kind Voice wants to broadcast the stories that make us aware of the good going on around us. This inspires people to tell their own stories which can inspire even more people.

Helping Children

Through the connected efforts of Claire Bloom and her volunteer teams at “End 68 Hours of Hunger”, a care package of food is given to children to cover the 68 hours between Friday’s school lunch and Monday’s school breakfast. Without this food these kids will not have enough to eat. Claire’s goal is to end childhood hunger in America– one school at a time. The world of these children has become a kinder, more connected place.


When Claire first heard about the children, in her local New Hampshire school, who did not have enough food to eat when not in school, she decided to DO SOMETHING! She used her kind voice to reach out to others. They joined together and in 2011 these volunteers gave 19 children the food they needed to cover the weekend hours. Two years later, they were serving 1300 children in different New England towns.


How did their project grow so fast and help so many children? People who heard about what Claire and her team were doing started using their kind voices and actions to end hunger in their town– one school at a time.

Whenever positive things happen everyone involved can benefit. The children have been helped not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Because they no longer have “food insecurity” on the weekends, their teachers see an increase in concentration and attention span. “End 68 Hours of Hunger” really impresses me because they are serving kids who are vulnerable and easily overlooked. This is a reminder to me of the importance of volunteering my time and resources to care for the needs of others who really need the help.

For the details about how your kind voice and actions can connect with others at a school near you to end 68 hours of hunger, go to: Check out the “How to Help” page. You, too, can make your world a kinder, more connected place.

Radio interview with Claire Bloom


Creating a new game…

During the program below with Professor John Velez of Texas Tech University we discussed gamifying the good. We used a visual “Bouncing Music” model to help illustrate how players interact with games and the idea of refining both the game and the way it is played to produce a better experience/result. For this post to be clear it would help to listen to the program.

Professor Velez has done brillant work in using gamification to get people to work/play together in cooperative ways. During this program we asked him to help explain how our work in bringing kind voices together connected with gamification concepts.

The focus of the above program was how the work of some of our past guests connected with gamification. Now in this post I’d like to expand on a topic we just briefly discussed during the program. The topic is our telephone call in line. To illustrate this story of bringing kind voices together, I’d like you to visualize a blank canvas.

Business person standing near a blank  billboard

On this canvas let’s place a sports or news call-in radio program, like the programs heard on radio stations across the United States.

These shows can be viewed as a game and the two main players in the game are the hosts and the callers. As demonstrated by the popularity of talk radio, there are many people who play and listen to this game. The goal from the callers perspective is to discuss their thoughts and the main goal of the host is to create an entertaining program.

Now, I’d like to de-construct this game and reconstruct it in a different way….a way that can create a kind of Bouncing Music video, which will allow the players to connect with the game and each other in ways that will create good experiences.



(1) Some of the people who call into these radio programs are just wanting to discuss their thoughts with another person and would welcome a conversation that was not cut short by the need to entertain an audience.

(2) There are people who would gladly volunteer their time to take calls and have conversations with people who have something they’d like to share, not just about sports, but news, movies, books, music and more.

We created a free call in line to connect these two groups of players. Here is a 2 minute montage of some of our volunteers discussing the call in line. Our very first radio program featured these volunteers as well as the music created by other volunteers.

What Next?
This iteration of the call-in line lasted for a over a year, took over a thousand calls and ended due to the need to better screen callers and promote the program. Like the games illustrated by the Bouncing Music Video discussed in the program with Professor Velez, adjustments need to be made to the way the game is designed and a new more refined iteration of our call-in line will emerge. If you’d like to lend your kind voice to making this happen, please email