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Article in the Reporter, Oct 13, 2015:

Help kindness catch on in the Florida Keys

Keynoter Publishing October 13, 2015

Last month, Keys to Peace launched what it calls a Keys Kindness Project. We hope to see it go viral in our Florida Keys community.

I view the Keys Kindness Project as an experiment. What if a whole community of people consciously focused on being kinder everyday in thoughts, words and deeds? What if we deliberately looked for ways to express more kindness to ourselves, our loved ones, strangers and our environment? What would happen?

Scientists say kindness is contagious. They say that even witnessing an act of kindness inspires people to be more kind in their own lives. If this is true, imagine what could happen if we intentionally became the example of a community of kindness.

What could happen if we set the wave of kindness in motion and watched it ripple out into the larger world? Think about it. Visitors from all over the world pass through our community. If kindness is contagious, they will feel the warmth of kindness here, and carry it into their own lives and their communities worldwide. Imagine the joy of being part of a force to inspire kindness everywhere.

I’ve been thinking about all the mass shootings we’ve faced in this country. Most of the shooters were lonely, tortured souls, desperately seeking recognition any way they could. I wonder what their lives might have been like if they felt more kindness as they were growing up, from people in their home, schools and community. Could it be that simple acts of kindness might be even more effective to stop violence than more strict laws?

Violence begins in the minds of people. Kindness breaks down barriers between people giving them a sense of value and belonging. Kindness fosters peace, makes people happier and brings communities together.

The Florida Keys are already one of the most caring places I have ever been privileged to live in. Joining together with the focused intention to be the kindest community ever, we can spark a light that will shine far and wide into our world. Can we really make a difference? You bet we can.

Keys to Peace began the Keys Kindness Project with a highway litter pickup (be kind to Mother Earth) and a joy-filled peace festival (be kind to yourself). We presented a kindness workshop showing how kindness can improve our lives mentally, emotionally and physically.

If you resonate with our vision of changing the world through kindness and you want to become a force to inspire this vision in our community, join Keys to Peace for Kindness in Action every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Long Walk Home Center, 97671 Overseas Highway in Key Largo.

Mimi Greek

Tavernier

Keys to Peace, a local nonprofit (www.keystopeace.com), will  sponsor its inaugural Annual Kindness in Action Giveaway on Oct. 18 at Burton Memorial United Methodist Church at 93001 Overseas Highway in Tavernier. A giveaway is like a yard sale with no money exchanged. Bring  what you can, take what you need.

At 1 p.m., drop off items to give away. Bring new or slightly used clean items in working order — no large electronics or extremely heavy items. The giveaway is from 2 to 4 p.m.

You can also share a talent or skill — face painting, massage, haircuts, music, homemade treats, that kind of thing.

Send an e-mail to info@keystopeace.org for more details or to volunteer.

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