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Seeds of Kindness helps goodwill grow

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Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013 8:50 am

Thanks to the annual Seeds of Kindness Week, good deeds have taken root across Calaveras County. This year’s festivities, Feb. 11 through 17, will be celebrated in full bloom with student-made posters and blue ribbons spread around the schools, main streets and store fronts.

The movement has flourished since 1994 when county residents Jim and Judy Bergantz, who at the time owned Bergantz Nursery, chose one September day to distribute thousands of long-stem rose bouquets to various members of the community. Of the dozen that these people received, they were asked to keep one for themselves and pass on the remaining roses.

The idea was simple: “We hope to create ripples of kindness,” explained Jim Bergantz. “Each of us has a choice in how we treat one another, and with this campaign, this movement, we hope to make random acts of kindness a way of life.”

Soon after the movement began, the Angels Camp City Council passed a resolution that declared the city a Kindness Zone in which National Random Acts of Kindness Day would be observed on Feb. 17.

Two years after the roses were first handed out, Kindness Day became Kindness Week, and the flowers were replaced by light-blue ribbons.

“My hope is that the ribbons become a discussion point,” said Bergantz. “There’s a lot of evil, a lot of anger in the world. This is something we can do individually and collectively to make it better.”

This coming week, 10,000 ribbons will be distributed countywide. When a ribbon-bearer notices someone demonstrating kindness, he or she will sign the ribbon and pass it on. The ribbons are a visual reminder of the importance of fostering goodwill in our own community and in the world at large.

“We hope that students will understand that a random act of kindness means to be kind for no other reason than to be kind always,” said Mark Twain Elementary kindergarten teacher Sandra Airola. “You see a need and try to fill it.”

In addition, students across the county were encouraged to enter their essays into the Kindness Hero writing contest.

“Students and parents have the opportunity at least once a year to discuss people in their lives who have made a difference through their kindness,” Airola said.

Essay winners will be honored at the Angels Camp City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Bret Harte High School.

To participate in Kindness Week, ribbons can be found at one of the following distribution centers: Office of Education, Starbucks in Angels Camp, Angels Camp City Hall, Angels Camp police department, the Sheriff’s department, the government center, numerous local businesses and banks or at any elementary, middle and high school in Calaveras County.

At the end of the week, signature-filled ribbons along with a kindness story can be mailed to The Seeds of Kindness, P.O. Box 677, Murphys, CA 95247. These ribbons will be showcased in the Office of Education, City Hall and throughout local schools.

“Now, all of Calaveras County is declared a Kindness Zone,” said Bergantz. “My dream is to have our signs at all seven entrances to the county, telling visitors, ‘You’ve arrived in a special place.’”

For project information, visit theseedsofkindness.com.

Contact Alicia Castro at alicia@calaverasenterprise.com.

© 2015 Calaveras Enterprise. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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