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Friday, April 19, 2024

A UF alumna has begun a road trip in hopes of meeting the needs of strangers through random acts of kindness.

Meaghan Jameson, 23, and her boyfriend, Dan Kenny, 26, started their journey on Nov. 5 and will continue through January.

“Helping people is just how I was raised,” Jameson said. “I used to pay people’s parking tickets in my hometown for fun.”

Jameson and Kenny created the Random Acts of Kindness Road Trip as a way to continue helping others in a creative way.

Funding started in August and will continue throughout the trip. Donated funds will be used solely for the random acts. Money needed for lodging, food and gas will come from personal savings, Jameson said.

“At first, our $10,000 goal was just for kicks, but it’s becoming more and more realistic,” she said. Just over $5,000 has been raised so far.

The road trip started last week in Michigan and will continue through Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas and finally, Florida, where the couple will spend Christmas with Jameson’s family.

“It was definitely a wild card telling my parents that I was quitting my job and going on a road trip across the U.S.,” she said. “But they were supportive.”

Jameson said she thinks the trip has been successful so far, and Elizabeth Hart, a 26-year-old teacher in Chicago, agrees.

Hart teaches at an all-boys school in the low-income, crime-stricken neighborhood of Englewood.

“Meaghan contacted me and asked for a student who I thought might be able to benefit from her idea,” Hart said. “I knew just the student.”

Jameson came to Chicago with a bag of art supplies for an artistically talented freshman, Hart said. When he opened it, he just whispered, “Awesome,” and went right to drawing. Hart was also given $600, and $130 of it was used to pay for a student’s mother’s medication for the month, Hart said.

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“Once I gave it to her and explained the RAK Road Trip idea, she just burst into tears,” Jameson said. “She told me that everyone needs affirmation that there are good people left in the world and that this was hers.”

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 11/14/2013 under the headline "Alumna traveling for acts of kindness"

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