1st annual Choose Kindness Day in Tillsonburg

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On Saturday, Tillsonburg chose kindness.

"This idea has kind of been in the works for a couple years," said Kelly Spencer, organizer of Tillsonburg's 1st annual Choose Kindness Day, speaking to a group of 30-plus people who gathered at Indigo Lounge late Saturday morning to pursue acts of kindness. "I plan on doing this every year, but on a different day next year."

Each team, which consisted of one to a half-dozen people, purchased Choose Kindness T-Shirts (which Spencer subsidized) and figured out a way to do kind things in town, either through monetary donations (generally $50 or more per team) or kind acts.

"We're going to go to Sally Ann's – we wrote out a couple nice letters and put them in envelopes," said Charli Kielly.

"And we're going to Anastacia's," said Kielly's daughter Allie Martin.

"Allie wants to give to somebody there," said Kielly. "We're going to go to some different places."

"We're going to look for people," said Dawn Vannatter. "We don't really have a set plan."

"Looking for random people that need cheering up," nodded Bonnie Pennington, the fourth member of Kielly's 'Team Love.'

"Yep, we're going to look for people who need to put a smile on their face," said Vannatter.

"Take that frown and put it upside down," Pennington laughed.

"We are waiting to talk to our team," said Lesley Sprague. "We've got a couple ideas, but we're kind of flying by the seat of our pants."

"We haven't really decided yet," nodded Tom Sprague.

"We might go buy someone's groceries... or fill up their tank of gas..." said Lesley, who also brought along Raegen, one of the youngest Choose Kindness participants.

"I'm a last minute entry," said Mark Dickson, "so I'm not too sure what my team is doing. It's all up to my team."

"You're Mark? You're on our team!" said Lesley.

"We thought we'd buy some (Lake Lisgar) Water Park passes, day passes, and give them out to kids," said Courtney Thompson,who brought along her son, Lucas. "We'll just go to parks. Kids under-five get in free, so we're looking for kids over five.

"He (Lucas) is a little young, but we kind of want to give him the idea, too – kid's helping kids."

Also on Thompson's team – Team Kind – were Tara Smith and Kristin Maddock.

"We're going to Woodingford Lodge," said Tom Boneham, who teamed up with Christine Grim. "For all the residents to participate... it's up to them on how they do it, whether it's a barbecue or hat-and-tea chit-chat sort of thing."

"Whatever they choose to do," said nodded. "It could be entertainment."

"As long as it's for all the residence, no one in particular," said Boneham.

"We have talked with Donna Acre (Salvation Army) about a family that could use just a little bit of extra support right now," said Devon Tamasi, unofficial captain of her team of five. "There's a young mom who's due to have her first baby in a couple of weeks. She needs the extra support. We're going to meet her at a coffee shop and just give it to them, and they're free to do whatever with it."

Several people had already picked up their Choose Kindness shirts earlier, said Spencer, and were spreading kindness across the the province.

"I have a family of four up in Barrie doing something, a couple others down in Niagara Falls, and five girls I play ball with have a Kindness Booth down at the ball diamonds."

After receiving special gifts from Spencer, participants jumped into cars and left Indigo Lounge to spread kindness, many of them armed with cell phones or video cameras to record their acts of kindness.



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