In 2002, Jeannette Maré’s life changed forever when her son, Ben, died suddenly just before his third birthday. In the months following his death, Jeannette and her friends and family began making ceramic wind chimes – the first Ben’s Bells – in her backyard studio. Being surrounded by supportive people and working with clay toward a common goal was therapeutic for her family and their healing.
During this time, Jeannette learned how a small act of kindness could make such a difference in a person’s life, no matter their background. She wanted to find a way to teach others about the impact of intentional acts of kindness, and so the idea for the Bell came to life. Jeannette and her friends made four hundred Bells and randomly distributed them in the Tucson community on the first anniversary of Ben’s death. Through these Bells, she had found a way to pay forward the kindnesses that had been shown to her.
This started a powerful ripple effect. People who found the Bells shared their own stories of grief and healing and hope. The local newspaper printed the story on the front page. School groups and businesses and individuals started calling to see how they could get involved and soon, thousands of Tucsonans were helping to craft Ben’s Bells.
Since 2003, Ben’s Bells has been operating as a nonprofit, growing kindness education programs and continuing to distribute thousands of Bells every year. The Bells are a symbol of kindness and its power to Heal. These simple wind chimes touch people’s lives and create kinder communities.