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Simple acts make for a more civil society

What do holding a door for a stranger, raking your neighbours’ leaves and helping carry groceries for an elderly person all have in common? They are all random acts of kindness. It’s no secret being kind to others can lift your spirits as well as theirs. For some, kind acts are part of their everyday life, but there are some of us out there who are too busy to notice when an opportunity to be kind arises.

The Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) are trying to change that mind set and will be celebrating their fourth annual Random Act of Kindness Day on Nov. 4.

“It’s one of the most powerful tools we have for achieving happiness,” said Tracey Van Kalsbeek, communications manager at the KWCF. “When we see someone helping another person, it not only gives us a good feeling, it causes us to go out and do something good for someone else.”

KIND OF A SUPER-HERO J.R. Waddell, a.k.a. Kaptain Kindness, was on hand Monday at the media launch of the KWCF’s Random Acts of Kindness Day at the Waterloo Inn.

In November 2008, the KWCF started the program in hopes of building a better community and to encourage a ‘pay it forward’ philosophy. This year the movement has spread across Canada.

“Random Act of Kindness Day has been a tremendous success with folks from all different walks of life performing small, simple, kind deeds,” said Van Kalsbeek. “It’s a reminder for us to take the time to be nice to others.”

Michelle Krasovec, who will be spear heading the initiative in Woolwich, looks forward to spreading the word about the program.

“This gives me an opportunity to impact my community,” she said. “It’s all about being kind to others in the community. I will be hitting the streets and approaching local businesses to create awareness about the day and will be looking for teams to help me spread the word.”

Krasovec will be approaching staff and students at Elmira District Secondary School to help organize an event to draw attention to the day and hopes to have an appreciation night at an Elmira Sugar Kings home game.

“Some people are skeptical when someone tries to do something nice for them, waiting for a catch,” said Krasovec. “It’s a shame that we do live in a society that some people think that way but that is what the day is all about, changing that way of thinking.”

The general idea behind the day is to celebrate and perform kind acts; with a simple message of doing something nice for someone and asking nothing in return except that they do something nice for someone else.

In the weeks leading up to Random Act of Kindness Day, volunteers will be handing out printed cards that say “You’ve been touched by a random act of kindness.”  Card holders are then encouraged to hand over the card to someone else and perform simple kind acts for that person like buying them a coffee or holding open a door.

Krasovec challenges other communities in the area to become involved in the initiative.

“I would like to see this spread to include Wellesley and Wilmot and hopefully it will one day. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice to someone. The day is about reminding ourselves to slow down and notice when a chance to be kind occurs.”

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