Picture of a student, the author of this blog piece Danny Charney, smiling

For many people, especially LGBTQ young people, the holidays are a tough time, when you often feel alone or neglected. This year was no different. My family and I did not do much to celebrate the holidays; we stayed home and basically watched movies most of time.

This year felt especially lonely because I had no one to talk to or anyone to give great big hugs to. I was looking for someone to call me, for someone to stop by with a card, or at least a reminder that I was thought of, but nothing came.

When the holidays ended and school came back in session, I sat back at home to do my homework. My phone dinged, and a message popped up: “Someone who cares about you wants to send you an anonymous message of kindness.” I sat up in my chair, and I wondered what the message would be. The next thing I knew, the message came in, and it said, “You are loved!”

Two students pointing, with the text "Text KIND to 21333 to send an anonymous message of kindness" above them, and a phone that says "You are loved" on the screen between them

In that moment I sat there staring at my phone smiling, realizing that people did care. On most days, a message like this would have made me smile just for a moment, and then I would’ve just carried on. But not that day. Instead, the message stuck in my mind for the whole week, giving me a new sense of empowerment and love.

All people, especially marginalized folks, deserve someone to let them know that they matter. Your existence is enough, and you should keep on living and thriving. That’s what that text reaffirmed for me.

Messages like this are one step in showing someone that their existence matters to you. It’s an actionable way to give someone you care about an affirmation and put #KindnessInaction. This week is GLSEN’s No Name Calling Week, where thousands of students and educators will put #KindnessInAction further, to create a foundation where people are respected and called the things they would like to be called. Where people are affirmed in their identities constantly. Where we build up a support system around students in school so that they feel less alone.

At the end of the day, I passed on the text to a close friend of mine who I hadn’t reached out to in a while, because I knew in my head that it would make her smile and help her realize that people do care, even when it may not seem that way.

I encourage you to send an anonymous message of kindness to someone, or put #KindnessInAction in your own way this No Name-Calling Week and beyond.

Danny Charney is a member of GLSEN’s National Student Council. Want to send your own anonymous message of kindness? Text KIND to 21333 or visit glsen.org/kindness.