Monday, February 6, 2023

Five things you need to know: Random Acts of Kindness Day

(WYDaily file photo)
(WYDaily file photo)

This year, Presidents Day has fallen on Feb. 17 or the day also recognized as National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Members of the Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance’s LEAD, a community immersion leadership program, thought it so important, they made spreading kindness their focus project during their two-year term with the WMBGkind initiative.

“Our outcome goal for this campaign is to make the greater Williamsburg area a community of kindness,” said Charvalla West, community impact director for United Way of the Virginia Peninsula and LEAD ’19 member. “We want greater Williamsburg to be known not only for our historical presence but also as a community of kindness, let this be what set’s us apart.”

The social practice of random acts of kindness has grown in popularity but West added the initiative brings those individuals, groups, and organizations to the forefront.

And acts of kindness don’t have to be grand to make a significant impact.

“Many of us, if not all of us, can think of a time when someone’s kindness changed our trajectory,” she said.

Here are five things WMBGkind wants you to know about random acts of kindness:

1. No act is too small — Whether it’s holding a door or just being polite, acts of kindness can be both small and grand gestures. West added for kids, small acts could include doing chores like taking out the trash without anyone having to ask, “small kindnesses that really do make a difference.”

2. There’s no price on kindness — While gestures like paying for someone’s groceries or “paying it forward” in a drive-thru tend to be more recognized on the day of observance, West said “kindness doesn’t have to have a monetary cost.” Some examples of free acts of kindness from WMBGkind’s website: Serve at a homeless shelter, leave letters of encouragement, or take time to listen to someone.

3. Kindness is inclusive — Demographics, race, nor socioeconomic status play a part in how people show or receive kindness, West said.

4. It’ll make us better, together — Being kind to others creates a stronger sense of community, changing the way we see ourselves, our neighbors, and “how we are connected [as] we all have more in common than we do different,” West said.

5. Kindness literally changes people — Both, giving and receiving changes the chemicals in our brains to release dopamine and endorphins, West said while making us more empathetic, generous in our assumptions about others, and become more selfless and humble,” when we approach a person or a situation through a lens of kindness.”

Learn more about WMBGkind and their upcoming projects and events including the May 9 “Miles of Kindness” walk by clicking here.

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