The Kindness Project originated in an old bar in one of the roughest parts of town – home of the original location of Freedom House. We knew the culture of the street was in desperate need of change, so we used kindness. We began doing free hot dog barbecues on the street. It seemed so simple … but its impact caught us by surprise. We watched various levels of the community come together, as kindness opened to doors to real change in people’s lives.
We got curious to see how far organized kindness in action could go, so we began to dream. And the result of that dream was Captain Kindness. A larger-than-life superhero, who is now an integral part of local celebrations and municipal events. He is even accepting invitations to schools, as educators have seen Captain Kindness in action and see the importance of the proactive message of kindness to solve real issues.
So we started to dream even bigger. We formed the Kindness Crew, a motivated group of volunteers who regularly spread the message of kindness through random acts of kindness—along with planned, intentional, strategic kindness. Our largest success has been the creation of Brantford’s annual FREE winter carnival, Frosty Fest. It features a street full of carnival rides, horse-drawn trolley rides and ice carvings. An estimated 10,000 visit the annual festival each year.
We’re now in the process of creating a citywide kindness initiative that will facilitate an untapped level of synergy and inter-connectedness between business, government, social agencies, the church, education and individuals. It’s a combined commitment to resolving real issues with things we ALL have in our hands to give.
In a few short years, we’ve gained the ear and support of city leaders through simple kindness by a relatively small group of people. We’ve seen entire elementary schools become engaged by Random Acts of Kindness and excited the staff about the kind of school they COULD have. The Children’s Aid Society has brought us into their living projects to encourage their residents about their living experience. A large, loud, laughing superhero has become one of the most recognizable faces in the community—and people young and old are eager to tell all about their last, and next, act of kindness.
The goal? Brantford becoming the kindest city in Canada… transformed by good into good as a model for how many cities can be transformed.
©2015 Freedom House International Church