PLYMOUTH â€“ April 14 is now known as the official â€śDay of Kindnessâ€ť in town.
During the opening ceremonies of the Terryville Fair recently, Mayor David Merchant made the proclamation to mark the anniversary of the first Keys For Kindness event in town.
The proclamation â€śasks every resident to participate in paying kindness forward by spreading and encouraging acts of kindness that will subsequently create a butterfly effect that will change the world,â€ť Merchant said in his Facebook post.
Keys For Kindness has been working to spread kindness in town since 2015.
The group grew out of People Empowering People (PEP), a free 10-week training program, offered in partnership with the Plymouth Family Resource Center (FRC), the United Way of West Central Connecticut and the University of Connecticut.
The course trains parents in how to advocate for themselves and for children, how schools work, how to approach legislators, etc. At the end the participants have to come up with a community project to work on.
The six original members of the PEP group, also known as â€śthe Peppers,â€ť are Heather MacAulay, Donna Kozer, Jennifer Yezierski, Jennifer DeForest, Vianna Hartley and Tanya Long.
Keys For Kindness, which is now part of the Terryville Lions Club, held a kickoff event on April 14, 2015, where the members handed out key necklaces to schools, businesses, churches etc to be passed out to individuals who had performed acts of kindness. The idea was those individuals would then pay it forward by passing the keys onto others who performed acts of kindness.
Since then Keys For Kindness has been organizing a â€śLight The Way For Kindnessâ€ť event every April 14 for the past two years. Town residents are encouraged to display purple lights on their homes and businesses to show that kindness lives here.
The group has also:
o Formed a â€śKindness Krewâ€ť that awards a kindness key necklace for good deeds done in the local area.
o Created a â€śKind Messageâ€ť fence at the entrance to the Terryville Fairgrounds this year, with the help of the Kids In the Middle students from Eli Terry Jr. Middle School.
o Created a monthly â€śKind Messageâ€ť fence at Eli Terry, again with the help of the KIM group. Cups embedded in the chain link fence spell out messages like â€śE.T.J.M.S. ROCKS!â€ť
o Most recently joined a worldwide movement called The Kindness Rocks Project, which aims to spread kindness and touch peopleâ€™s lives with positive messages such as â€śSmile,â€ť â€śBrave,â€ť â€śShine,â€ť and You Matterâ€ť decoratively painted on rocks. The rocks can be seen at Lake Winfield and at Pondering Creations Farm at 101 Allen St.
For more information, find Plymouth Keys for Kindness on Facebook.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.