What do you do after getting dumped?
Most people eat ice cream and watch rom-coms until they can’t look at Katherine Heigl anymore.
Kaianna Sessoms, a young Co-op City resident nearing her 30th birthday while dealing with the knawing pain of a bad breakup that just wouldn’t subside, decided to help herself by helping others, and threw herself into a 30-day service venture she titled ‘The Worthy 30 Project’.
Sessoms pledged to herself to take part in at least one charitable act per day for 30 days, beginning on Veterans day and ending on December 11, her 30th birthday.
In the beginning she only told two of her closest friends about the plan because of the steep commitment it entailed.
“I didn’t know if it was something I would be able to accomplish,” said Sessoms, who works full time and is also in graduate school for an MBA in Marketing, “but I made it happen.”
Determined to start fresh, Kaianna began her mission on Veterans Day by escorting veterans at the United War Veterans Council.
The next day she volunteered at St. Paul’s Church soup kitchen, and the day after that she cheered on athletes at the Special Olympics.
One day when she found herself without a scheduled event, Kaianna bought coffee for the homeless in Grand Central Station.
On National Fast Food Day she went to a McDonalds in Harlem and gave out Happy Meals to those in need around the area.
Soon and without realizing it random acts of kindness and service became a part of her everyday life.
In her homestead, the Bronx, Sessoms worked with NYC parks and planted trees in Pelham Bay Park and prepped food at Part of the Solution on Webster Avenue.
On December 10 she participated in UN Global Human Rights Day and helped to lay flowers for world peace.
Kaianna found herself working closely with New York Cares, a non-profit that aims to manage volunteers so people can give their time whenever they can – even if it means one day at a time.
Between school and work Kaianna had a lot of early mornings and late nights. Some days she would go to the NYC rescue mission at 6:30 a.m. to serve breakfast, other times she would pick up food from restaurants and deliver it to shelters when she had a spare hour or two after class.
On the last day, her 30th birthday, Kaianna hosted a benefit event for UNICEF – which was founded on December 11, 1946 and shares her birthday.
If 30 days of philanthropic immersion doesn’t heal a hurting heart its tough to say what will.
“It taught me to be humble in my day-to-day living, it taught me that if you are complaining you should really think about it…based on the people I was helping, things could definitely be worse. Now I focus more on things I need to do, and it humbled me,” she said.
Today Sessoms said she plans on continuing her efforts for the less fortunate, through one organization especially – Women In Need. WIN associates provide services for NYC homeless women and children and attempts to get women back to their independent selves.
After working with the group during her 30-day plunge, she fell in love with their mission and now looks forward to involving herself permentantly with the cause.
“If you have the time, use it to help others,” said Kaianna “You will see the value in the people you are giving too.”
Kaianna documented each day of her 30-day journey on her Tumblr page : thewo