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Local and global focus on violence awareness and random act of kindness week

The region’s 26th annual Violence Awareness and Random Acts of Kindness Week March 7– 13 seeks to promote positive energy to counteract the negative effects of senseless violence in society during a week of self-guided acts.

“Over the past two years our program has had some definite challenges which have changed our format somewhat, but I am pleased to report that our 26th kindness anniversary will be a welcome distraction and something that we can all benefit from given the year we have had,” says Chris Macdonald co-chair of the VARAK committee. “I would like to thank the greater Quinte, Hastings and Prince Edward County communities for the support you have shown and for embracing our ideology that kindness is contagious and to please pass it on.”

Normally the week would kick off with opening ceremonies, a candlelight vigil and student awards, but variations continue as they have over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local area elementary school students have been invited to participate in colouring and poster contests and will submit their entries electronically. High schools have been invited to nominate a student as their ‘Kindness Citizen’ and a draw will be held during the week to choose the overall winner who will receive a lap top computer and printer courtesy of the Quinte Mall. In addition, two other high school students will receive a bursary from the VARAK Committee.

The VARAK program is offered to 59 area elementary schools and 14 high schools and is made possible by the generosity and support of service clubs, local businesses and other organizations within the greater Quinte community.

Macdonald started the week with her sister Pam Smith, in memory of Macdonald’s son Mark Fyke, who was shot and killed while on a school trip in Florida in 1996. Less than four months after his death, Belleville’s Becky Middleton was also raped and murdered while in Bermuda. Shawn Keegan was shot and killed in Toronto just a few months later.

The blue ribbons of hope were the idea of Mark’s sister Jen, as a visual reminder that violence makes victims, and to encourage random acts of kindness.

Below is a suggested schedule for residents to participate on their own March 7 to 13.

“Remember, the only thing better than receiving an act of kindness, is giving one,” said MacDonald.

Monday, March 7th – Community Candlelight Vigil
Light a candle and observe a minute of silence at 7 p.m. in remembrance of all victims of violence – including the people of the Ukraine facing the invasion by Russia.

“At this time, we would ask you to especially remember the people of the Ukraine and the unthinkable violence that they are currently enduring,” notes MacDonald.

Tuesday, March 8th – Kindness Crews
On Tuesday and throughout the week Kindness Crews will be passing on kindness and gratitude to frontline heroes and first responders. Areas targeted this year by the Kindness Crews include, Belleville, Trenton, Madoc, Marmora, Wellington, Bloomfield, Picton, Consecon, Frankford and Stirling. Macdonald stressed that “if you receive a random act of kindness, please pass the kindness on and remember kindness is contagious!”

Wednesday, March 9th – Blue Ribbon of Hope Day
Everyone is encouraged to wear blue as a stand against violence and to promote kindness.

Thursday, March 10th – Thankful Thursday
Take some time out of your day to text, message or call and thank someone who has touched your life with their kindness.

Friday, March 11th – Friendly Friday
Surprise a family member, friend or neighbour with an inspirational note, flowers, an email, a card or some other act of kindness to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Saturday, March 12th – Kindness Citizen of the Year
Award. The community is encouraged to nominate individuals who have demonstrated acts of kindness and a draw will be held on Saturday, March 12th to select the winner. The Kindness Citizen of the Year will have their name permanently displayed on a Pillar at the Kindness Court in Quinte Mall and will also receive other gifts and prizes. Send nominations by Friday, March 11 to Quinte Mall Administration, 390 North Front Street, or email submissions to qteservice@primarisreit.com

Sunday, March 13th – Random Acts of Kindness Day
Any act of kindness, no matter how small, can have the greatest impact and proves that angels truly are among us. All citizens are encouraged to open their hearts for the good of others. Random acts of kindness are those special deeds that we can do that take an extra effort of being kind when we are not expected or required to do so.

 

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