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United Way St. Croix Valley

United Way St. Croix Valley is encouraging all community members to take part in its first Acts of Kindness Week this Nov. 15-19. You can help start a chain reaction by performing random acts of kindness, big or small.

“This past year has been difficult in so many ways, but even a small act of kindness -- a warm smile, an unexpected act of generosity, can all have a huge impact on someone’s life,” United Way Executive Director Lisa Murphy said. “At United Way St. Croix Valley, our mission is ‘uplifting’ the St. Croix Valley. We hope this weeklong celebration of kindness inspires our community members to uplift their neighbors and spread kindness throughout our community.”

From grabbing coffee for a coworker to picking up groceries for a neighbor to volunteering at a local nonprofit, United Way encourages everyone to do one act of kindness each day. To inspire others and keep the kindness chain going, participants are encouraged to share their acts of kindness on social media, tag United Way St. Croix Valley, and use the hashtag #ActsOfKindnessWI.

To celebrate Acts of Kindness Week as an organization, United Way is creating and distributing Calming Kits to each K-12 guidance office in the Hudson and River Falls school districts. These kits are filled with soothing activities and encouraging messages to help kids having a tough day or going through a difficult time.

“We have heard from our school partners that staff and students alike are feeling the effects of returning to the classroom after more than a year of distance learning and pandemic restrictions,” Alyson Sauter, United Way’s 211 Community Impact Director, said. “We created the Calming Kits to give back to our school community and help support our young people’s mental and emotional well-being.”

United Way hopes to expand this opportunity to reach additional districts in western Wisconsin this year. United Way’s Success By 6 Program is encouraging parents, teachers and caretakers of young children to get involved in Acts of Kindness Week by practicing acts of kindness with their children. Participants can print a calendar for the week with kindness ideas for each day that young children practice.

“Children learn to be kind by watching and listening to the caring adults around them,” Betsy Byker, Success By 6 director, said. “Parents are their child’s first and most important teacher.” To print the calendar, visit unitedwaystcroix.org/united-way-acts-kindness- week-2021 or contact betsy.byker@unitedwaystcroix.org.

On United Way’s Acts of Kindness webpage, you can find a list of ways to participate in Acts of Kindness Week, but “the ideas don’t stop there,” Murphy said. “We can’t wait to see the creative acts of kindness our community members come up with.”

Suggestions range from smiling at a stranger to returning shopping carts to the corral to donating to a local nonprofit.

“Donating to a cause you care about is another way to show kindness to your community,” Murphy said. “When you make a gift to an organization you care about, you’re making an impact for a number of people, strengthening your community and spreading kindness all year long.”

If you would like information on how your business or organization can get involved, contact Lisa Murphy at lisa.murphy@unitedwaystcroix.org.

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