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2022 Fairfield County’s Giving Day

Thursday, February 24th

Fairfield County’s Giving Day is the region’s biggest philanthropic event, bringing people together to make a difference for local nonprofits, like Ben’s Bells, delivering vital services to our neighborhoods. When you invest in kindness, you help create kinder communities.

Ben’s Bells teaches individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness and inspires people to practice kindness as a way of life. This year you will hear from our youngest kindness ambassadors and learn how Ben’s Bells programs are making a difference in our communities. Ben’s Bells programs are based on the belief that everyone has the capacity to be kind and that kindness can be cultivated through education, visual reminders, and ongoing practice.

Donations are taken through Fairfield County’s Giving Day website. Each donate link below will take you to the location you can make a donation. If you would like a reminder on Thursday, February 24th, please select an add to calendar link below.

Thank you for investing in creating kinder communities on Fairfield County’s Giving Day and every day.

Kinder Hearts

Ben’s Bells shares a variety of free tools for kindness on our website. These tools are research-based and include monthly kindness calendars, Kind Notes, Thank You Notes, DIY superhero masks, tips for kind discussions, and more. Each tool is inspired by the original tool for kindness, the Ben’s Bell. These tools make a difference in how we treat ourselves and others, like for this kind classroom:

“Each year on curriculum night when I meet with families, I always share that of course my goal is to help students progress and find success in all curriculum areas. But ultimately my goal, and how I know I have done my job as a teacher, is to see students leave with kinder hearts and a true understanding of the meaning of kindness. I want them to know how kindness is beneficial to themselves as individuals, but also to others. I have been working closely with Ben’s Bells organization for quite a few years and the 4th graders at Pine Grove Elementary School have the privilege of taking a field trip to the Ben’s Bells studio in Fairfield County every year. It is the most incredible experience and field trip of their elementary school career. I absolutely love the message of this organization and how accessible it is to elementary schools to be a kind campus and to use the tools and the resources on their website,” says Kate Matos, third grade teacher at Pine Grove Elementary.

When you make a donation to Ben’s Bells, you are ensuring we have the supplies needed to create tools for kindness that are accessible for free to the general public with specialized programming for Kind Campuses.

 

 

The Power of a Ben’s Bell

Twenty years ago, the first Ben’s Bells was created in Jeannette Maré’s garage as part of a healing process after suddenly losing her son Ben right before his third birthday. Jeannette and her family and friends made four hundred Bells and randomly distributed them in the Tucson community on the first anniversary of Ben’s death. This started a powerful ripple effect. People who found the Bells shared their own stories of grief and healing and hope. Today, Bells are found all over the world and seem to find the people that need them most, like in this story:

“I wanted to share my crazy Hawaiian hiking experience. It was definitely a death-defying scary moment in my life that I’ll remember forever. My three friends and I did not take the advice of a sign posted by locals at the beginning of a “trail” saying “whatever you do, do not do this…we see people get airlifted regularly…this is a climb NOT a hike.” We ended up being stuck on the Ridgeline for 8 hours, unsure of where we were going half the time because it was so overgrown. We were scaling rocks, free climbing up vertical parts of the ridge by clinging to roots, swatting away mosquitos, wading through plants, etc. It was nuts. We were constantly checking in on each other and asking if everyone was okay. But what was really reassuring was that my mom sent me (to Hawaii) with a Ben’s Bell. The entire time, we heard it ringing in my backpack and felt like there was someone or something looking out for us. After about 7 hours, we finally get to a clearing where we actually feel safe and not like we could fall off a cliff to our right or left. This was the “hike” that was actually known so we saw people there. We were cheering and hugging and then all of a sudden, I saw a Ben’s Bell hanging in some shrubbery. Safe to say we all melted down right then. It was a really crazy, surreal moment,” say Karen Mello, Ben’s Bells board member.

When you make a donation to Ben’s Bells, you are ensuring we have the supplies to continue to make Bells and distribute them in our communities as a visual reminder to practice intentional acts of kindness.

Everyone Has a Purpose to be Kind

Kindness is a skill set that can be practiced, and that is why Ben’s Bells offers Kind Campus programming for free to all schools. Over 12,000 students in Connecticut and New York are receiving Kind Campus programming this year! Kind Campus is an innovative, school-based program that educates students, faculty, and staff about the benefits of kindness, and then empowers them to create a culture of kindness in their school and beyond. Schools that embrace the program create a ripple effect of kindness into the community, like Mrs. Newman’s third grade class.

“A few years ago when I was driving through the local Starbucks to get my morning coffee, I noticed on the coffee cup that there was a decorated sleeve and it had a kind note on it. Mine said “everyone has a purpose to be kind.” This was done by Mrs. Newman’s third grade class at Berry Elementary School. Everyone driving through the local Starbucks that morning got a kind note on their cup of coffee. This is why I support Ben’s Bells. We are teaching our children, the next generation, about what kindness is and how to practice intentional acts of kindness through free programing in schools.”

When you make a donation to Ben’s Bells, you are investing in kindness programming in schools and creating a kinder community.

Teaching Kindness

At our core of teaching about the benefits of kindness is Ben’s Bells free Kind Campus Program that we offer to K-12 schools. This year over 12,000 students in the Connecticut and New York area are receiving quality, researched-based kindness programming. Kindness is a skill that can be practiced by anyone at any age and Kind Campuses are creating a ripple effect in their communities, like for this family:

“We’ve both been supporters of Ben’s Bells for many years, for many reasons. First and foremost, we relate to and value Ben’s Bells mission which is teaching individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness. Ben’s Bells educates people and communities about the skills we need to make kindness part of our daily lives. Kindness is a skill set that can be taught to anyone at any age. Now more than ever we need to show kindness in school and beyond,” says Patty Labozzo, Ben’s Bell development committee member and longtime volunteer.

“Ben’s Bells Kind Campus is a free program and it is awesome! It educates students, faculty, and staff about the benefits of kindness and then empowers them to create a culture of kindness. I learned that when we tell people that they are not being kind or being mean, it is negative and doesn’t have any lasting effects. I learned that when we see or feel something kind from another person, tell them, or write it down for them on a note. People need to know that their kindness matters and people need to be grateful for others. When we learn to point out people’s acts of kindness, we are more likely to repeat them,” says Ruby, Ben’s Bells volunteer.

When you invest in Ben’s Bells, you are ensuring that Kind Campus programming will continue to be available to students, faculty, and staff free of charge. By recognizing, valuing, and practicing intentional kindness, we can change the world.

When in Doubt, Be Kind

Ben’s Bells educates communities about the skills we need to make kindness part of our daily lives. Kindness is a skill set that can be learned, and a series of small actions practiced regularly makes a larger impact than a single random act. Our programs are designed to help us understand the human brain so we can develop our awareness and compassion — both for ourselves and others. We love hearing about how individuals incorporate kindness into their routines, like Dr. Pat.

“Ben’s Bells is a wonderful organization that talks about intentional kindness. I absolutely love Ben’s Bells. What is more important than being kind? I am not really sure. I try on Fridays at my job to send out a couple of Kind Notes to people who have intentionally been kind and gone the extra mile in some way that has impacted our district, our kids, and our schools. Remember when in doubt, be kind.”

By making a donation to Ben’s Bells, you are providing the resources needed to teach the skills we need to create kinder communities. We know that kindness is a skill that can have a profound personal impact and resonate with a community in need of connection and support.