If there’s a silver lining to our new normal, it’s the creative ways people are spreading kindness. If you’ve chalked your walk, had a social-distancing dance party or stocked your neighborhood’s free little library, you know what we’re talking about. Now, families can keep the good vibes going at home with a free kindness curriculum developed by an Eastside parent. Find out how below.

Kindness in Return

Long before she was a mom, Camp Kindness Counts founder, Dhaarmika Coelho had an interesting experience riding on a train. She was reading a newspaper when the man sitting next to her tapped her shoulder. She assumed he wanted the paper, so she passed it off to him when she was done. The paper made its way from one passenger to the next, before making its way back to Coelho, much to her surprise. Her kindness had been (unexpectedly) returned.

That simple interaction is what got Coelho thinking, twelve years later, about how to raise kids who would spread kindness in their community. So she started a kindness camp in 2012, with 15 participants. At camp, kids volunteered with seniors and helped people who were homeless. They spent time at animal shelters too, and at the end of the week, the kids were beyond proud of their accomplishments and wanted more.

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photo: iStock

The Greater Good

Coelho’s program has grown to include partnerships with local school districts, camps, parent workshops and family service days. It also led her to partner with University of California Berkely’s Greater Good Science Center to develop the Kind World Explorers Guidebooks. Part of the Families Building Communities of Compassion initiative, these guidebooks bring research-based practices to parents, with a focus on fostering specific character traits like gratitude, generosity, forgiveness, authenticity and flexibility, to name a few. The best part? You can download them to use at home for free (donations are greatly appreciated).

photo: iStock

Kind World Explorers Guidebooks

There are four Kind World Explorer Guidebooks, the first two of which (Harmony and Purpose), are currently available to download. Save them as PDFs or print them out, then add them to your new daily at-home routine. Each guidebook includes easy activities you and the kids can try together, along with discussion questions that guide your experiences. By breaking up the activities into three categories—My World, Your World and Our World—kids can trace the ripple effect of their good actions.

Pro tip: Start your day with a guidebook activity to set the tone and focus.

photo: iStock

Kind World Passports

After the kids have completed their guidebook activities, they can sit down with the Kind World Passport (also free to download) to reflect on what they’ve learned. The sticker book of good deeds, this helpful companion is the incentive that’ll keep your kids doing good, day after day, in home and out.

photo: iStock

Pay It Forward

If you’re interested in participating in Camp Kindness Counts activities in your community (once we’re able), be sure to look into Service Camps, Kindness Challenges and upcoming Family Service Days that take place locally. You can also make a donation or volunteer your time, if you're able. There’s something to engage everyone through this non-profit.

Camp Kindness Counts
Online: campkindnesscounts.org

—Allison Sutcliffe

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