project kindnessBy NIKKI ROWELL,
Northsiders form group to recognize random acts of kindness; bracelet awarded
Discouraged by negativity that she encounters online via social media, a Madison resident began working with some friends on a project to inspire kindness and positive action.
Ashley Crandall, the founder, said the project launched on July 1 using various social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and the Catching Kindness website.
Crandall is an instructor at Tiger-Rock Martial Arts, and she is a kindergarten assistant teacher at St. Anthony Catholic School.
“I always knew I wanted to do something like this, but I didn’t know when,” she said. “I just saw so much negativity on social media and in public. I think everything that’s online and even on TV, the negative stuff gets more of a spotlight rather than the positive and kindness.”
When she graduated college, she knew it was time to try to do something about it.
The Catching Kindness Project promotes kindness through bracelets.
When a kindness ambassador witnesses someone doing something kind, they give the person a bracelet with the words “be inspired” and “Catching Kindness Project” on it and thank them for their kindness.
“If you see someone who is being extraordinarily kind, you give them a bracelet,” she said. “For example, a couple of months ago, a teacher was moving. She went to the Donut Barn, and she didn’t have cash, just a credit card. The owner said, ‘Oh, I got it.’ ”
So, Crandall gave him a bracelet to recognize him for his kindness.
“Just this little bracelet can mean so much to someone,” she said.
Then, the ambassador typically takes a photograph of the person they saw doing something kind and posts it on both Facebook and Instagram.
“It really reminds you to be kind,” she said.
Anyone can apply on the project website to become a kindness ambassador, and Crandall or one of the co-founders will mail bracelets.
The project now has more than 15 ambassadors in several states.
Crandall said they also promote kindness in other ways, such as stickers, videos and by hosting family nights.
Crandall’s goal is to see the project expand to all 50 states and abroad.
“It’s actually already gotten outside of the country,” Crandall said.
The co-founders, Evangeline Stephenson, Lacey Higgins and Maci Matthews, have helped expand the project to other areas outside of Madison.
“They inspire me to really push myself,” she said. “They’re the kindest people I’ve ever met.”