Originally printed in The Bristol Press
PLYMOUTH– Participants in the People Empowering People–PEP–program decided that Plymouth needs some kindness lately and each individual in town holds the key. The 2015 PEP Class invites town residents to join in the Keys for Kindness Campaign, which will kickoff with the “Kindness Hour” on Tuesday April 14, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the Community Room at Town Hall.
Mayor David Merchant will present the first symbolic key and the program members will distribute the initial wave of keys, said Donna Koser, who is a member of the class, aling with Jennifer Yezierski, Jennier DeForest, heather MacAulay, Vianna Hartley, and Tanya Long.
The members have invited a number of local organizations to send one or two representatives to accept a set of keys that can be given out to others for kind acts.
Koser said the mission of Keys for Kindness is “to promote kindness, inspire people to recognize its contagious benefits and power to make a difference in peoples lives and to strengthen out community in a positive way.”
“Research shows that kindness has a positive effect not only on the recipient and the giver, but also on the observer,” she said.
The group has been collecting keys for some time now, she said. “We have created kindness necklaces with them to be give out to individuals showing kindness. If you receive one we ask that you in turn, pay it forward when you notice another being kind.”
Anyone who comes to the Kindness Hour is asked to bring along a gift of kindness, such as a small gift card, a baked item, a special quote, an offer of free service, etc.
“Please put your family name on it,” the invitation to the event says. “As you arrive there will be name tags to fill out and wear. Each family attending will receive a gift and find that family to thank them… and maybe even meet a new friend!”
The program is a free community-focused 10-week training program which encourages growth in communication and problem solving skills, parent/family relationships and community involvement. Participants work on one or more projects that benefit their community.
The program is offered in partnership with the Plymouth Family Resource Center, the United Way of West Central Connecticut and the University of Connecticut.
“In People Empowering People we have to do a community project,” Koser explained.
“I think the whole class just wanted to do something that was positive that would bring a little bit of hope for the community,” Koser said.
They came up with the idea of keys as a tribute to the Lock Museum of America on Route 6 and the old Eagle Lock Co. in town.
The group started a Facebook page for the campaign, where they hope people will post about kind acts they had done which got them a key or witnessed which for which they passed on a key.
“The key is not supposed to stay with you,” Koser said. “So if you receive one you’re supposed to seek out somebody else doing an intentional kindness act.”
The idea for the campaign could catch on and spread to other communities, she said.. “We hope so.”
To attend the Kindness Hour, town residents should RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit Plymouth Keys for Kindness on Facebook. For more information about the program, visit http://pep.extension.uconn.edu/
Author: Susan Corica