Erica Fiekowsky started Raining Sunshine to brighten other people's lives.
Fifteen-year-old Erica Fiekowsky, now a sophomore at Mountain View High School, had a bright idea over the summer: Random acts of kindness should be a bit less random. She started a club in August to make sure the local randomness quotient declines and the happiness index rises.
In the past six weeks, members of Raining Sunshine have given away cookies at a stand in front of Erica's home on Springer Road and made tissue-paper flowers for passersby at Rancho Shopping Center.
"A lot of people were really touched by the flowers, others thought we were crazy," Erica recalled. "We gave one to a little girl who was crying, and she smiled."
The club's membership is fluid, but nine teens gathered outside Lappert's ice cream shop on the afternoon of Aug. 22 to turn tissue into day-brighteners. They were rewarded by $25 in "tips," which they plan to use to fund future events, and by a random act of kindness on the part of Lappert's manager, who took ice cream to the teens sitting in the hot sun.
Since then, the world's need for kindness, random or otherwise, has become desperate. To respond to the needs of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Raining Sunshine members are planning a muffin and smoothie stand to raise money for relief efforts.
"Anyone who is interested is very welcome to participate, but as of yet we're mainly teenagers," Erica said. "I hope next to contact my elementary school - Springer - and others in the area and get younger kids involved so they can learn how much fun it is to give things to people."
Erica is enrolled in a program through Landmark Education Corp. that requires participants to plan and implement a project benefiting their community. Her father took the program about 30 years ago, she said, and inspired her to do the same. Erica said she is the program's youngest member.