A woman watched two brothers run miles in an effort to raise money for a child with cancer. A dentist offered free care to veterans in appreciation of their service. A teacher rewarded a student for his thoughtful behavior toward a classmate who is sometimes the target of bullying.
All of these small acts of kindness happened in Wheeling last week. Many others happen and go unnoticed. But The Kindness Revolution, with the help of State Farm agent Noah Mull, wants to spotlight these kind acts and focus on all the positive things happening in the Friendly City.
What Is the Kindness Revolution?
Ed Horrell published the book The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift That Inspires Phenomenal Customer Service in 2006. As a customer service expert, Horrell often saw the effects of management treating lower-level employees with disrespect and apathy. After studying companies known for their amazing customer service, he discovered what made these corporations stand apart was their commitment to kindness, starting with the highest level executives. They perform more efficiently and retain employees and customers at a higher rate.
Based on this theory of kindness improving relationships of all types, he founded The Kindness Revolution in 2007. According to their website, “Our mission is to bring back the sorely needed values of dignity, respect and kindness to the workplace, schools and everyday life. It’s our starting point in shaping kind behavior.”
“Our mission is to bring back the sorely needed values of dignity, respect and kindness to the workplace, schools and everyday life. It’s our starting point in shaping kind behavior.”
The concept is simple, yet revolutionary. People are encouraged to notice and praise acts of kindness. From things as small as opening a door to as impactful as starting a community movement, the Kindness Revolution focuses on finding the good in others and encouraging similar behavior.
This grassroots movement needs a local Kindness Headquarters in each city, and Noah Mull was honored to be contacted by the company this fall to lead Wheeling into the Kindness Revolution. “It creates a shift in thinking,” he says. “Instead of focusing on the negative news in Wheeling, we can feel better about ourselves and our community by noticing the good.”
Using the Kindness Revolution in Schools
While many cities across the U.S. have Kindness Headquarters, Noah is asking for community involvement to get the Wheeling chapter running. It’s a very popular program in schools. Most schools have anti-bullying programming, which focuses on diffusing the negative behaviors that lead to bullying. Implementing the Kindness Revolution in schools takes a different approach. By recognizing and rewarding kind behaviors, teachers and administrations have a method of positive reinforcement to use to combat bullying.
There are youth-sized bracelets that say “It’s cool 2B kind” that can be given to students in recognition of their acts of kindness. In just a few weeks, more than 20 schools in the Ohio Valley have expressed an interest in participating. The program is easily adaptable to any school, and administrators are encouraged to add rewards, contests and special activities to their program to make it more engaging and fun.
At no cost to the school, the Kindness Revolution provides bracelets and certificates. Kind Students of the Month are honored publically by the local representative.
The Kindness Revolution Thanks Service Providers
In addition to the adult- and youth-sized bracelets, there are red and blue bracelets to honor veterans and first responders. Anyone is welcome to pick up bracelets at Noah’s office to take to police and fire stations.
The local VFW and the Nailer’s hockey team have also become involved in the Kindness Revolution by having bracelets available to recognize veterans.
In many communities, police officers carry bracelets on patrol. With negative media attention on law enforcement, the Kindness Revolution provides an opportunity for positive interactions between police and the community. Officers having the opportunity to recognize kind behavior instead of only punishing disobedience paves a new path for healthy relationships.
Company of the Month
Each month, a local business will be recognized as the Kind Company of the Month. In November, Zambito Family Dentistry was given the honor. On Nov. 17, the office provided free dental care to any veteran. This is the fourth year the office has dedicated a day to caring for veteran’s oral health and they expect to see about 80 people each time.
Seven-year employee Becca Higgins was honored to have their dedication recognized. She enjoys the day of giving back and hearing stories from those who served. She was especially excited this year to work in the office that received Wheeling’s first Kind Company of the Month Award. “To put a focus on giving back and seeing the good in others is really needed. We see lots of negative so we need to focus more on the positive.”
The Kindness Revolution and Noah Mull’s office is calling all of Wheeling to action. They need lots of participation and excitement about the program to make a real revolution. They have a Facebook page that can be used to message the office for scheduling events. The office is located at 2192 National Road. They are stocked with bracelets they are excited to give to any community member who would like to participate.
They are also always looking for nominations for both the Spirit of Kindness Award and the Kind Company of the Month award. Any individual or business who makes an impact by showing kindness should be recognized for their dedication to making Wheeling a more kind and caring place.
Noah also plans to have special volunteer days. He is currently looking for needs in the area. He will periodically post volunteer opportunities for anyone to participate in. A dedicated group of people can accomplish a great deal in just one day and make life a little bit better for someone else.
Also on the Facebook page, Noah plans to create Random Acts of Kindness Days. This will be a post with a suggestion of a small act of kindness that can be shown to someone who may need an extra smile to brighten their day. These small acts may not seem like much at the time, but they can be enough to make the difference in the life of someone.
Join the Kindness Revolution today and make your corner of Wheeling a little brighter.
• Stacey Sacco is a Wheeling native currently living in Martins Ferry with her husband and four children. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work and previously worked for several social service agencies. She is currently the production editor for InWheeling Magazine and a blogger at OV Parent.