One Mayor Transformed His Town Into the City of Kindness

Children in Anaheim, California did over 1 million random acts of kindness.

Oct 14, 2019

Has a total stranger ever brightened up your day by simply smiling at you when you needed it the most? What about a time that someone held the door open for you or let you in front of them while waiting in line out of their own goodwill? 

Random acts of kindness have a significant positive impact on our society. One city that really embraced this is Anaheim, California.

How did this begin? According to Nation Swell, back in 2002, Natasha Jaievsky, a young girl just 6 years old, was involved in a tragic car accident which ended her life. Natasha was a creative soul who loved to design vibrant drawings of rainbows with messages of kindness included in each piece. In loving memory of his daughter, Edward Jaievsky displayed Natasha's' kindness-inspired illustrations throughout the city. 

When Anaheim’s mayor, Tom Tait, discovered these quotes of kindness all over the city and felt heart touched. Inspired by Natasha's' creativity, Tait had a life-changing vision for the community and even the world! His mission as Mayor was to transform Anaheim into the City of Kindness.

In 2013, Mayor Tait (he was a city councilmen then) established the Year of Kindness Campaign. Collaborating with elementary schools throughout the city, Tait asked students to come up with random acts of kindness. Whether it meant holding the door open for someone or paying someone a genuine compliment, these kids excelled when it came to making someone else's day brighter.

“We decided to ask the kids to create a million acts of kindness. A million! They did it, and it was fantastic,” Tait said in an interview with City of Kindness.

Acts of kindness aren't just limited to people.  As part of the kindness movement, students had the chance to give back to the environment for allowing us to survive and thrive every day. Tait's mission to become the City of Kindness encouraged elementary students to plant trees as a way of giving back to Mother Nature for all she does. Empowered students give back and express gratitude for all they have by seeding new life into the earth.

Within two  years of the campaign launching, students successfully reached the 1 million mark for kindness gestures, as desired by Tait. From small acts of kindness to large and everything in between, these students did not disappoint. In honor of their success, the Dalai Lama flew the whole way from India to celebrate the kindness movement in Anaheim.

Not only do these random acts of kindness make someone's day, but they have a proven positive impact on society. The city and school district report lower detention rates along with a decrease in aggressive behavior. Tait's kindness movement has become an aspiration for today's society, Going beyond elementary students, applying these kind gestures to our everyday lives can make the world a better place. 

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.