Gloria Hartsough of the Brentwood Diversity Committee (BDC) believes that too, and has taken up the challenge – Rachel’s Challenge – to help make Brentwood not only a community of kindness, but possibly the kindest city in the land.
“We (BDC) have made an active decision that Brentwood will be the kindest city in the United States and we’re going to talk to all of the service clubs, the City Council – everyone – to gather their support,” said Hartsough. “After all, you can never have enough kindness.”
Already a successful nationwide program, and recently incorporated into the Brentwood middle and high schools, Rachel’s Challenge is based on the Colorado teen’s final school essay, in which she expressed the notion that one person’s act of kindness can make a difference. Now, in the hope of bringing that message to the community as a whole, the BDC is spreading the word throughout the community, beginning with a public presentation on Oct. 18 at the Liberty Adult Education building.
Presented by Bristow Middle School Vice Principal Gretchen Clare, who is working with the BDC to put Rachel’s Challenge out to the community, the hour-long presentation will outline the BDC’s plan along with background on the Rachel’s Challenge program.
“They (BDC) asked me to share what’s been happening in our local schools, and I am happy to do that,” said Clare. “I will also put out the challenge to our community to join our youth in being purposefully kind to others and to ask people to be observant and acknowledge when they do see it (kindness) being displayed.”
The Brentwood kindness plan includes setting up boxes filled with paper chain links at local businesses, public places and community venues throughout town. When people perform acts of kindness, their name will be written on a paper link and become, eventually, part of a citywide circle of kindness.
“The chains of kindness will be everywhere, and when you go to the library or city hall, you’ll see chains that represent acts of Brentwood’s kindness,” said Hartsough. “At the end of the year we’d like to have an event to link all of the chains together, to see how wide our circle has grown.”
To qualify for a link in the chain, the act can be as simple as helping someone cross the street, assisting someone who is lost or looking for directions, or even sharing a smile with a stranger.
“Anything that you do that makes a person feel special or appreciated – that is an act of kindness,” said Hartsough, who plans to take the city challenge to local preschools and daycare centers throughout the community. “We’re really excited about this. I think this is what we need to get the focus off of what’s wrong (in the community) and put it on the positive.”
“It’s amazing how something so simple can be so profound,” added Clare. “I think that is why we have embraced this (challenge) so passionately, because it is something so simple that everyone can do it. Nothing makes one feel better about themselves than when they’ve done a kindness for someone else. It makes everyone feel good.”
The Rachel’s Challenge presentation will be held Monday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Liberty Adult Education center, 929 Second St. For additional information, call 925-848-4860 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.