People from all over Winnipeg will be surprised with acts of kindness today as fellow Winnipeggers make a commitment to be consciously kind.
Winnipeggers have already pledged nearly 1,300 acts of kindness, which they promise to deliver throughout the day today.
It’s all part of Conscious Kindness, the first of four Winnipeg Wednesdays celebrating United Way of Winnipeg’s 50th anniversary.
“Kindness is something everyone can share,” said Jan Sanderson, United Way of Winnipeg board of trustees member.
“What’s beautiful about it is that it’s easy and feels great, and no matter how small an act of kindness, it has the power to transform lives – both for the people we share kindness with and for ourselves – and to make Winnipeg an even better place to live,” she said.
“For the 50th anniversary we wanted to create some ways to mark the occasion that were fun, and that could highlight and celebrate Winnipeggers’ kind and compassionate spirit. So an event encouraging kindness itself seemed like a natural fit,” Sanderson added.
“The way Winnipeggers have embraced Conscious Kindness so far, this could even become an annual event.”
United Way of Winnipeg staff, along with pledging many individual acts of kindness, have pooled their own money to hand out cookies and coffee this morning to people passing by their office at 580 Main Street, starting at 9 a.m.
It’s not too late to participate. Winnipeggers can go to www.winnipegwednesday.ca/kindness and choose from 50 different acts of kindness or create their own idea. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger, writing someone a note, or holding open a door. Plus, everyone who pledges will be entered in a draw to win one of 50 retro United Way logo t-shirts.
Once someone has pledged, all that’s left to do is to go out and be kind today. People can also share their kindness experiences on social media using the hashtags #kindwpg and #wpgwed.
Here are a few thoughts from Winnipeggers and groups who have pledged to carry out kind acts today:
- Every student at George Waters Middle School will be pledging at least three acts of kindness during their first class, then carrying out those acts throughout the day.
“Kindness is already our focus here – we don’t talk about anti-bullying, we talk about kindness, and we take part in kindness days throughout the year. The staff has embraced kindness and the kids are definitely on board. They go out of their way to do nice things like open doors. We try to focus on the positive.” – Andrew Mead, Principal
- Eric Guy, a 19-year-old University of Manitoba student and track team member, will be gathering a group of his siblings and friends and each contributing $10. They will then go downtown in the early evening and see how far they can make their money go by using it to perform small acts of kindness for Winnipeggers they meet.
“The impact one person can have on another person’s life is just huge. All of us who have the ability to try and change someone’s day for the better, I think we have an obligation to do that. I think the idea of this day is phenomenal, and it’s exactly what this community needs.” – Eric Guy
- A group of Grade 6 to 8 students at H.C. Avery Middle School has delivered baked goodies to neighbours living next to their school, and will hand out homemade paper flowers at another school in the division in the afternoon. A Grade 6 class will also be baking cookies to hand out to every student in the school.
“We’ve done random acts of kindness in our school before. Now we’re branching out to the surrounding community. The kids have been bitten with the bug of really wanting to help people.” – Alana DeLuca, drama and choir teacher
- Human Resources administrator Lorey Worona has delivered kindness notes to friends marked ‘Do not open until June 3,’ and all of her 80-plus co-workers will find a “positive post-it” note with a kind saying on their desks this morning.
“There is so much negativity out there, on the Internet or as a whole in the world these days, but I just to try to think positive and be kind. You never know when a small act of kindness can impact someone. People don’t do that enough.” – Lorey Worona
- Students in a Grade 2/3 class at Sherwood School will be making thank you cards to take to a nearby church to give to the volunteers who run programs at the school.
“My class has an all-year initiative; when we see each other being kind they get recognition on our Kindness Wall.” – Erin Thomas, Grade 2/3 teacher
- Staff from the Aveda Institute & Academy will be at Old Market Square at lunch, inviting people to come to the salon for a free stress-relieving ritual such as a hand massage with stress-relief scrub or a head and shoulder massage.
“One of the things we pride ourselves on is community spirit and supporting local initiatives. Kindness and being a good person is part of what we’re about – part of our mission statement is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society.” – Roberto Sinopoli, Director
- Niki Card, a part-time teacher-librarian, will be spending the afternoon with her 6-year-old daughter Ainslee after kindergarten, going around doing kind acts for people such as handing out lemonade and buying someone their meal.
“I think kindness just needs to be part of who kids are as they grow up, so it becomes second nature. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if being kind was just so normal, it was what everybody did?” – Niki Card
- Grade 1 to 5 students at Brooklands School will be doing kind acts including picking up trash and making an extra effort to smile and be kind to each other. The older students will also be writing thank you notes to former teachers.
“We have a tagline we use often: ‘We help others and others help us’. It’s important for our students to know anybody can give back. Once they build that spirit of generosity, they can do amazing things.” – Rex Ferguson-Baird, Principal
- Yoga instructor Andrea Robin will be spending the day being more conscious and aware of opportunities to help people, pay random compliments to friends and smile at strangers.
“Sometimes people can be shy about asking for help, so I try to be a bit more aware of seeing if someone needs help. It’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference.” – Andrea Robin
- Mary Beth Taylor, president of Creaddo Group, plans to “pay it forward” by buying morning coffee and lunch for strangers, as well as taking her son to drop off some of his art to their neighbours.
“I have been very fortunate in my life and benefited from the kindness and generosity of others. Giving back is a small way of saying thank you but also selfishly makes me feel a lot better too. I also love involving my child in charity and acts of kindness as it teaches him how to live as a generous and caring citizen. At Creaddo we are mothers and have chosen to work with charities so we can leave our community a bit better for our children.” – Mary Beth Taylor
- Graphic designer Christel Loll will be handing out post-it notes with kind messages today, with #WpgWed on the back.
“I’m a big fan of spreading random acts of kindness. Conscious Kindness is such a lovely idea, and I really hope it makes big waves. I would love to see this day celebrated by all Winnipeggers!” – Christel Loll
Conscious Kindness by the numbers
50 – suggested acts of conscious kindness Winnipeggers can choose from at www.winnipegwednesday.ca/kindness, to pledge to perform on Wed. June 3
1500 – the number – so far! – of kindness acts already pledged
100% – likelihood of feeling good after performing a conscious act of kindness for someone
50th – anniversary that United Way of Winnipeg is inviting Winnipeggers to celebrate with Winnipeg Wednesdays, including Conscious Kindness today
4 – Winnipeg Wednesdays in June (see descriptions below)
Every 2 minutes – rate at which someone in Winnipeg is helped every day thanks to the kindness of Winnipeggers who support United Way of Winnipeg
The four Winnipeg Wednesdays are:
- June 3 – Conscious Kindness: In a new twist on an existing concept, United Way invites Winnipeggers to raise the bar on random acts of kindness by pledging to take the time to pause and be consciously kind on June 3.
- June 10 – Red Tables: Modeled after Jeffersonian Dinners, United Way invites Winnipeggers to start a conversation that matters, with old friends and new. People can get a free resource kit to host their own Red Table meal and share their vision for making our city better, together.
- June 17 – Make It Happen: Unveiling one of Winnipeg’s first multi-project crowdfunding campaigns, United Way invites Winnipeggers to pitch in to help families and kids around Winnipeg through 17 family resource centre projects get some of the everyday things that make an extraordinary difference in the lives of the people they serve.
- June 24 – One Night for Winnipeg: United Way invites Winnipeggers to celebrate Winnipeg with some of the city’s hottest bands and acts, plus join a world record attempt for the most people drumming together at once, at the Forks from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.