San Andreas, CA — Nationally, it’s “Random Acts of Kindness Week.” Locally, the Board of Supervisors has, for the sixth year running, proclaimed Calaveras County a “Random Acts of Kindness Zone.”
Coordinator Jim Bergantz was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
According to Bergantz, who, along with wife Judy, instituted efforts 20 years ago to establish “Kindness Day” in Angels Camp, the tradition has steadily grown and now flourishes as a week of activities in the local schools. “Each school kind of puts their own spin on it,” he says proudly. “There [are] kids… marching through Murphys…tying up all the ribbons all over Main Street…it’s really cool to see each school district, and each school, grab a hold of this and make it their own.”
Bergantz credits “Random Acts of Kindness” by Conari Press, a short stories collection sharing extensions of goodwill and caring feats, for compelling his family “to do something” that might help make their community a kinder, gentler place. From the book editors, they were encouraged to move forward with their ideas and interact with City of Angels City Council to initiate the first “Kindness Day” in 1995. “The next year, we got a bunch of ribbons, began to raise some money, and kindness was born and it was born right in Angels Camp, ” he recalls. “From that, we’ve grown it, over the years to involve the entire county.”
This year, Bergantz says, 10,000 light blue ribbons have been printed up to enable kindness instigators. According to the event website, when a ribbon-bearer sees an act of kindness being performed, he or she should sign the ribbon — and then pass it on. Schools are using an additional three miles of tie-ribbon to visually commemorate the week and many schools will gather on their athletic fields in symbolic design formations for aerial photographs.
Bergantz says he hopes this week, “That kindness becomes a…focus and hopefully, those ripples of being nice to one another and doing something to reach out [and] say that we need to treat each other a little bit better. To find kindness in our community is what we’re trying to do.”
Ribbons, available at local schools all around the county, can be picked up at the local banks, Round Table Pizza and Starbucks in Angels Camp, according to Bergantz. Additionally, students are dropping off ribbons at local downtown businesses.
Ways to commemorate the week might include making it a discussion topic at the dinner table, Bergantz suggests. “What does [kindness] look like? What can we do in the world that we live in, right here?” He adds, “[This week], there are cities all across the nation and counties and communities that are taking part in these kinds of activities. We’re proud as can be that Calaveras County embraces it each year. This is 20 years running that we’ve been able to be part of this volunteer effort and we hope to go another 20, so, we’ll just keep working on it!”
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 AM.