No matter how big or small, you can brighten a person’s day just by going out of your way to do something kind.
That’s the overall message that came from the opening ceremony of the 22nd annual Violence Awareness and Random Acts of Kindness Week Monday night at the Quinte Mall’s Kindness Court.
The VARAK campaign was started in 1997 by Chris Macdonald in honour of her son Mark Fyke, who was killed in a senseless act of violence while vacationing in Daytona Beach, Florida in March of 1996. The campaign also recognizes Belleville natives Rebecca Middleton and Shawn Keegan who were both killed the same year.
Macdonald explains what the goal of the VARAK campaign is.
The opening ceremony included a candlelight vigil in memory of all victims of violence and recognition of students who have exhibited good conduct in their school communities and beyond. The annual acknowledgement of elementary and secondary school students is something MacDonald said makes a great impact.
Many activities are being planned in support of the initiative, which include “Kindness Crews” going out into the community and spreading good deeds to unsuspecting Quinte residents on Tuesday, the “Blue Ribbon of Hope” Day on Wednesday for local businesses to post messages of kindness, and voting for the “Kindness Citizen of the Year Award.”
Kindness activities are also being offered at 62 area elementary schools and 15 high schools throughout the week.
Co-Chair of the VARAK campaign Pam Smith says everyone can get involved during the week.
Macdonald adds going out of your way to be kind to people doesn’t stop at the end of VARAK Week.
The week wraps up on Sunday with Random Acts of Kindness Day in the Quinte community.