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PVPP launches “practice kindness” campaign

PVPP is a valley-wide grass-roots project, initiated jointly by Keremeos RCMP and Lower Similkameen Community Services


PVPP is a valley-wide grass-roots project, initiated jointly by Keremeos RCMP and Lower Similkameen Community Services

Valentine’s Day 2012 marks the beginning of a valley-wide campaign to encourage the “indiscriminate practice of kindness”.  The campaign, sponsored by the Lower Similkameen’s Proactive Violence Prevention Project, will continue throughout the Spring season.

“Practicing kindness can be contagious”, says PVPP Coordinator Ron Shonk.  “But unlike contagious diseases, ‘infectious kindness’ can be good medicine”, he says, “and we hope for it to reach epidemic proportions – in our homes, in our schools, and throughout all our communities.”

In fact, kindness is, literally, good medicine.  It’s practice produces measurably healthy chemical changes in humans that foster both physical and emotional well-being.  And its benefits flow out through our relationships with others to affect public health as well.

For nearly two years now PVPP has addressed the issues of child and domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, and bullying in its efforts to promote and increase “Safety in Our Communities, Safety in Our Homes” – the Project’s goal and motto.  The roots of mean-spirited behavior are often deep-seated and complex, and simplistic solutions are rarely sufficient for real and permanent change.  “Practicing kindness is simple”, Ron points out.  “Anyone can do it.  But it’s not simplistic.

Its gentle power can transform persons and relationships.  It’s the direct antidote to violence and abuse.”

“Simple, though, is not always easy”, he says.  “For some, practicing kindness may require practice. Old behavioral habits may need to be replaced with new ones.  Replacing old behavioral patterns with new ones starts as a conscious, intentional choice before it becomes a habit.”  “But it’s always worth the effort”, he adds.

Here’s a three-step suggestion for installing a “kindness habit”:

1.  Put a “practice kindness today” note on your refrigerator door and bathroom mirror.

2.  Practice this S.A.D. (Say, Acknowledge, Do) Formula daily:  Say something kind to someone.

Acknowledge a kindness received from someone with words like “Thank you. That was kind.”

Do something kind for someone.  (It’s OK to do each part more than once a day.  You can’t overdose on this medicine.)

3.  Choose a “kindness partner” and check-in each day to keep yourself on track.

The up-beat Kindness Campaign will feature a barrage of “awareness posters” throughout our valley.  Churches, schools, families, local organizations, and our health centre will also be encouraged to participate.  “We considered offering a prize to the winner of a community-wide  ‘Kindest Person’ contest”, Ron reports, “but being kind doesn’t need a prize.  Kindness is its own reward, and everyone’s a winner.”