Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s call for more kindness resonates with Latham Lockwood.
That’s because he is chair of an organisation, Kind Hearts Trust, that creates practical ways of sharing kindness. The concept has even spread beyond New Zealand to Australia, Canada and the United States.
Latham hopes the Prime Minister’s comments will prompt more kindness, which will in turn have a positive impact in the community.
“To hear Jacinda talking about this [kindness] as a value for New Zealand and how she puts it as ‘a simple concept’ – it truly is simple and can have a bigger global impact than we realise.
“We feel that what we are doing is right, and if we all ask ourselves ‘How can we be more kind to each other?’ – not only New Zealand but the world will be a better place for all.”
A ripple effect
Latham believes there is a move in New Zealand towards more kindness and says that when people are touched by kindness, it has a ripple effect.
So how is Kind Hearts, based in Palmerston North, changing the community?
“We have various initiatives in multiple areas, all of which reach different parts of our community. Each person – man, woman, child – who is touched by our initiatives receives kindness in its most pure form.
Unconditional kindness. They understand someone else has unconditionally helped them, without judgement or expectation.
“This continually develops their awareness of kindness and the positive impact it has on others, thus encouraging them to spread it further,” Latham says.
“It is like the ripple effect.”
Began with Facebook
Kind Hearts began in 2014 after founder Leigh Rosanoski began posting on her Facebook page about kindness.
The first Kind Hearts initiative was to print and give away “kindness cards.”
The little notes can be used to thank someone for great service or kindness received, give with a gift as a random act of kindness, or pay for someone’s coffee or meal.
She saw a powerful response from the message kindness brings and the way it connects people.
A kindness card recipient wrote the following message on the trust’s Facebook page.
“My partner and I were doing our weekly shop at Countdown Johnsonville this afternoon and, to be honest, with both of us being sick it was a bit of a struggle. And then we came across this! It brightened up our day and made us feel really special. What a cool idea. So thank you to your organisation and whoever hid the goodie bag in with the Worcester sauce. Good to know good, kind-hearted people still exist!”
The Kind Hearts Charitable Trust was set up in 2016 with a board and operational team, all volunteers.
The first programme was the Kind Hearts for Kids initiative to provide schools and kindergartens the support to feed their kids when they need it, especially breakfast.
Another programme provides practical support to parents of babies and children in Palmerston North Hospital’s neonatal unit and children’s ward, delivering donated items daily such as home baking, food, toiletries and books.
In the classroom
Kind Hearts Trust is committed to supporting schools to build a strong kindness culture alongside, and enhancing, their own school values and the unique and special culture of their school and school community. In February 2018 the trust launched its Kind Hearts in Schools classroom kit and guide for teachers.
The launch of these kits marks Kind Hearts’ first year of fully engaging with the school community.
The programme facilitators, Raewyn Marshall and Robyn Tootill, are retired school principals who bring experience and passion to achieve the potential of the charity’s initiative, leading the development of new resources and guiding the trust to achieve its goal to spread this initiative nationally and then globally.
So far Kind Hearts has 45 registered schools and 146 kits have been purchased. Twenty of these schools are from outside Manawatū, in Christchurch, Taranaki and Kaikōura. All up, about 4300 students have been involved.
About 280 students from 22 schools also came to the Kind Hearts regional day, working together to come up with ways to spread kindness back in their schools.
Growing the reach
“We are looking to really grow this initiative to reach even more schools and regions next year,” Latham says.
They also use kindness cards, where pupils can anonymously write a compliment or nice note to a classmate, and have weekly kindness buddies.
Pupils also secretly find kind things to do for a classmate, as well as learning about how to act kindly.
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Kind Hearts website click here
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