So far, he has made and delivered 400 desserts to firefighters and distributed $12,000 worth of donated classroom supplies to Oakland middle schools.
The prospect of turning 30 carries a certain weight that can often be a source of considerable anxiety for many. The supposed transition from one's youthful and carefree 20s to a perceived more mature and responsible 30s can leave one feeling suddenly unsure about career and relationships (or lack thereof). Some use the dawn of their 30s to take stock of what they've achieved in life so far and what kind of impact they've had on the world around them. Bryan Tsiliacos also experienced this phenomenon when he turned 29 in February this year. However, instead of jumping headfirst into an existential crisis about approaching the big 3-0, he decided to channel his anxieties toward doing some good.
"There are expectations to being 30. The family, the house, the career," Tsiliacos explained to PEOPLE. The tech company project manager dealt with his feeling of anxiety by writing down everything he was grateful for in an effort to remind him how much he owes to the generosity of others. "I pulled out a sheet of paper and started to write down all the things that I was grateful for," Tsiliacos told KGO-TV. "And at that moment, I realized that every wonderful thing that has happened to me was thanks to the support and generosity of others."
Wanting to put his "gratitude in action," Tsiliacos launched the 30 Acts by 30 initiative, challenging himself to complete major 30 acts of kindness before turning 30 next year. "I decided to put my gratitude into action by doing 30 acts of kindness before turning 30. And who better to show my appreciation than essential workers? They have gone above and beyond to keep our communities moving during these difficult times," he wrote on his GoFundMe page. "Yet, essential workers are often overlooked and underappreciated. So rather than helping one person at a time, I wanted to see how many I could impact with one act of kindness at a time."
So far, Tsiliacos has made and delivered 400 desserts to firefighters in San Jose and distributed $12,000 worth of donated classroom supplies to Oakland middle schools. "Acts of kindness like this let us know that we are not invisible, that there are folks out there who really care about our community," said Principal Maya Taylor of Westlake Middle School in Oakland. "Just seeing their reactions is the reason why I'm doing this," explained Tsiliacos. "And the goal here is to put a smile on their faces and inspire others to give back in their own way." He is currently working on assembling care packages for 118 animal shelter workers in San Francisco, CA. Although he has challenged himself to complete 30 acts of kindness before February 2022 when he turns 30, Tsiliacos also accepts that the success of his initiative is in finishing the mission and not in hitting a self-imposed deadline. "I'm going to complete my goal no matter how long it takes," he said.