MeetMaria

July 2020 WINNER

Maria Henriquez moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2003 without knowing how to speak any English, became a certified interpreter in 2008, and went on to earn an MSW from Norfolk University in 2015.

 

Ms. Henriquez currently works as a social worker in the Newport News Public School system in Virginia, and utilizes her unique blend of skills to remain in close contact with the Spanish-speaking communities and provide them with the necessary support, information, and resources for their children. She is also an active member of the Hispanic Advisory Committee for the city of Newport News, a member of the family and community engagement board, PTA, and an advocate of mental health awareness in the schools, among many other things.

 

In her free time, Ms. Henriquez is a dance instructor to children of all ages. She is passionate about her family, and describes her work with students, families, and the community as a calling.

 

Just Be Nice would like to thank Maria for her service to the wonderful people of Virginia, and for all of her contributions to make the world a better place. We are honored to issue her this award for July, and are grateful that she took some time to answer some of our questions…

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Q: Why do you think it is important to make the choice to "just be nice"?

 

A: "It is important to “just be nice” because we are all empowered with the ability to bring hope to someone in need and struggling to find it. Helping someone through a challenging time, or even a challenging day, can foster hope and help them see better days ahead."

Q:  What are some things that you do personally to carry out this message?

 

A: “Personally, I feel like being kind, respectful, and understanding are extremely important in order to carry out the “just be nice” message. By making myself available to those I serve, I am able to appreciate the beautiful differences and similarities in us all.”

 

Q: What are some examples of being nice that you have seen recently from other people?

 

A: “I was pleasantly surprised during my birthday by my friends, co-workers, and community members. After asking my friends to contribute to a fundraiser to assist families unable able to access many of the resources available to others, donors contributed thousands of dollars to help. Furthermore, those that could not donate money instead donated food, hygiene kits, and safe goodie bags for children in their communities. This, to me, is a perfect example of the “good” in people and epitomizes “just being nice”!”

MeetERIN

June 2020 WINNER

Erin Cuite lives in Bergen County, NJ and is one of the frontline healthcare workers during this Covid-19 pandemic. She earned her BSN this year, and then began working as a nurse after the pandemic broke out. Currently, Erin is working as a Float Nurse in a hospital in NJ, along with the local swabbing test center. 

We here at Just Be Nice want to thank Erin for her courage and hard work helping serve those who have fallen ill during this pandemic. Her bravery and dedication to her job during this time transcends our mission to make the world a better place, and we are happy to honor her by issuing her this award. 

Erin was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions about what being nice means to her...

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Q: Why do you think it is important to make the choice to "just be nice"?

 

A: "Have you ever smiled at a stranger or struck up a conversation with someone random at the store while grocery shopping? Do you know that feeing of satisfaction when they smile back or keep up the conversation? That feeling is why I think it is important to "just be nice." The energy flows both ways and there is instant gratification on both ends. Good things come into our lives when we are kind and remain open to the kindness of others."

Q:  What are some things that you do personally to carry out this message?

 

A: “Personally, I do my best each day to appear approachable and maintain a positive attitude towards whatever the day brings me. I have always believed that I will get to where I want to be in life if I am able to preserve the mentality of being a kind person with the best intentions. It's important to remember that individuals may be dealing with issues that others are not aware of. Although it is not right to let others treat us poorly, it is beneficial to keep in mind that they may be going through something personal. By reminding ourselves to, "just be nice" we are allowing our good intentions to move us in the right direction, while simultaneously impacting those around us. ”

 

Q: What are some examples of being nice that you have seen recently from other people?

 

A: “The Covid-19 pandemic has been such an odd time for all of us. I feel extremely grateful for all of the love and support that I have received over these last few months. Afraid that I could potentially pass on the virus to my family, I made the decision to stay in a hotel for the past 9 weeks. After a week there I realized I would be spending most of my weekly income on the room. I reached out to the community seeing if anyone would be kind enough to temporarily rent out a room until the number of Covid cases started to decrease. Shortly after I put the message out there, a woman reached out to me saying that she has been raising money to help nurses in the community and would like to pay for my room for as long as I needed. Not only that, but she also organized meals each night to be dropped off at the hotel for the nurses staying there. To be able to come back to a room, where I could isolate myself, after working two full time jobs for those months relieved so much stress. This was the ultimate act of kindness that I experienced during this time. I have also received leggings to keep me warm while was working at the local swabbing testing site, along with countless face masks which I shared with my nursing friends, and just tons of general support, such as loved ones checking in frequently. The support that the community has given towards nurses during this time is overwhelming and absolutely appreciated.”

MeetMichael

NOVEMBER 2018 WINNER

Michael lives in St. Pete, and he's been a constant supporter of JBN for over 5 years!  By spreading niceness in his community and his family with the growth of Just Be Nice over the years and through “The Nicest” Contribution for our Kickstarter, this summer he’s taken action and helped us forge ahead to make the world better than we found it!  We took a little time to chat with him about his involvement with Just Be Nice!

Q: How did he first learn about and become involved with Just Be Nice?

 

A: JBN’s COO Finley, is lucky to have Michael as a member of her family and he learned about Just Be Nice from his amazing wife, who also happens to be Finley's (co-owners) mother.

Q:  We asked him to share a story with us of a time when he made the choice to “Just Be Nice”.

 

A: “I witnessed a car accident and stayed to assist one driver who was badly shaken up, but not hurt. We stayed for two hours waiting for the police; as your mother and I were the only witnesses. Turns out the other driver tried to place the blame on the driver we had helped. This was definitely not the case. She changed her story after the police spoke to us. It was nice to help a person in such an upsetting time.”

 

Q: As Just Be Nice Continues to grow we asked Michael how he would like to see us change.  Funnily enough he of course encouraged us to simply…

 

A: “Spread the message in as many ways as possible!”