Recently, I joined the Steering Committee of the Juneau Police Department 2017 Year of Kindness Initiative(17YOK). While late to the group, I’m not too late to help pull together the year-end celebration planned for all of Juneau. I am also a participant as I try for one act of kindness a day with friends and family and an act of kindness per week outside my immediate circle. When it comes to kindness, opportunities seem to be everywhere.
We are past the halfway point in our Year of Kindness. The JPD 2017 Year of Kindness kicked off on New Year’s Eve afternoon 2016 with a “Purging Ceremony” at Sandy Beach. Native drumming provided atmosphere as people wrote personal messages and placed them in a bonfire.
JPD Lt. Kris Sell, who heads the initiative, continues to be impressed with the depth of sincerity of participants, that day. She recalls the cold at Sandy Beach in spite of a fire inside the shelter, and, that it was extremely slippery underfoot. The purging ceremony was in response to the complex pervasive vibes of negativity by year’s end in 2016.
On New Year’s Day, 2017 the kindness initiative kickoff continued by tagging on to the Auke Rec “Polar Plunge.” Laughing, Sell said, “I was in and out of the water so fast, I don’t even remember getting wet!”
Remember the video rental store slogan “Be Kind Rewind?”
This small act of taking responsibility was an act of kindness for someone else, someone unknown. It occurs to me that doing a job well is a form of kindness to others known and unknown.
And, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. If I hadn’t been sitting down doing my bills, just now, I might have missed this: The very month, I remind myself, to turn off lights and other things around the house not in use, the savings (which make me smile) are reflected in my electric bill!
Eventually, others will know about Juneau’s Year of Kindness.
RANDOM ACTS, an international organization that has partnered with the 17YOK Steering Committee, will be in Juneau at the end of August to shoot some video, interview people and document what is believed to be the world’s first city wide Year of Kindness. Random Acts’ representatives will be at Sandy Beach, Friday, Sept. 1 (3-7 p.m.) with an open invitation to anyone interested in talking about the Year of Kindness Initiative.
At year’s end, data and the many incidents and events of kindness on the JPD Facebook page will be evaluated. The hope is that kindness is not just trending but can become a lifestyle embroidered into our community.
• Carol Kell, a Juneau resident, is a parent, a K-12 substitute teacher, the N.O.W. (nurture, outreach & witness) committee chairperson at Aldersgate United Methodist Church and a member of the JPD 2017 Year of Kindness Steering Committee.