To the editor:
Today more than ever, the world needs kindness. One of my favorite quotes is “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”. Imagine what the world would be like if everyone was kind.
Grace United Methodist Church in Southington wants to be known as the “Kindness Church”. One of our goals to get there is the Ben’s Bells program (bensbells.org) which inspires, educates, and motivates people to realize the impact of intentional kindness.
Ben’s Bells was founded in Arizona by a woman whose 6-year-old son passed away unexpectedly. The founder said it was the kindness of family, strangers, and friends that helped her family begin to heal. They wanted a way to pass on that kindness and to help others in the process, so they developed the “Ben’s Bells” and “Kindness Education” program.
There are several components to the Ben’s Bells program. The first part is handmade bells to be hung around the community for people to find and take home as a reminder to practice intentional kindness. A note on the bell says to take the bell home and pass on the kindness.
Next is the “Kindness Coin” program, where individuals give Kindness Coins to someone they don’t know when they see them do an intentional act of kindness. In further support of the program, “Kind Campus” is a school-based program that strives to educate students, families, faculty and staff about the benefits of kindness.
Last fall, several members of our church went to Bethel to learn more about the program. While we were there, we painted Kindness Coins along with molding clay into shapes that would eventually become part of Ben’s Bells. Members of Grace were given Kindness Coins and we have been handing them out to people we don’t know to do an intentional act of kindness.
Our church is very excited because members will be hanging Ben’s Bells in Southington on Saturday May 5. Ben’s Bells are hung randomly throughout the community, in public spaces, for people to find and take home as a reminder to practice intentional kindness.
A church member is a teacher at DePaolo Middle School. She approached the principal to see if she could use the program in her classroom, and he agreed. With this start, we now have access to the entire Kind Campus curriculum. Our hope is that the Kind Campus program can spread into more classrooms in town and eventually all the schools, inspiring, motivating, and empowering a culture of kindness in the school and beyond.
Future plans include having Ben’s Bells come to Grace to teach kindness education to adults and children in Southington.
Paula Lopatosky, member of Grace United Methodist Church