Lost lives remembered through kind actions


By Rebekah Frank


In remembrance of the 26 lives lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., the EWU Office of Community Engagement is holding a “Days of Kindness” event.

On Dec. 14, 2012, a man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., and opened fire on the school. He shot and killed six adults and 20 children.

According to Molly Ayers, EWU Director of Community Engagement, Eastern started doing the days of kindness last year as a response to Ann Curry challenging the nation. After the shooting, Ann Curry tweeted “I’m in. [Retweet] if you’re in,” as a challenge to get everyone involved and do an act of kindness according to NBC.

The second annual “Days of Kindness” will begin on Feb. 14 and will last one week. Last year, the event reached 3,181 acts of kindness, with 947 participants, or about one out of 15 people at Eastern.

These acts of kindness can include giving out free hugs and passing out candy. Last year, the EWU grants office challenged 26 departments to donate $26 to help fund scholarships.

It does not matter how students get involved, whether it is through their dorm, a group or just themselves. The act can be anything from buying coffee for the person behind you to holding a fundraiser.

“Anything big or small, but we want to challenge everyone to get involved,” said Ayers.

If students would like to hold an event, Ayers would like to encourage them to contact her ahead of time so she can spread the word. Ayers would also like to remind faculty, staff and students that if they see someone doing an act of kindness to please report it to be counted.

The goal this year, according to Ayers, is 5,000 acts of kindness.

“If you think, we have 12,000 students at Eastern, so that is less than half doing one thing for somebody else,” said Ayers.

According to Ayers, the act could be as little as opening the door for someone or as big as putting on a blood drive.

Each act of kindness, including hugs, compliments, donations and service acts, will count towards the goal of 5,000. This year, the event will only last a week, but Reanne Charuhas, student volunteer at the EWU Office of Community Engagement, would like to remind everyone that kindness does not stop when the week ends.

“This is an opportunity to gather as a community, gather as a campus and really promote the idea of kindness and know that it extends beyond the week,” said Charuhas.

Students can also post their acts, others’ acts or stay up to date on the kindness around campus on the Office of Community Engagement Facebook page.

EWU senior Jose Garcia said,“I am putting candy in each of my resident’s mailboxes on Valentine’s Day. What are you doing to show kindness?”