This is one of many stories from a wide variety of sources and a multitude of forms contributed by people upon request for my 70th birthday. They will be posted without editing, with the attribution that was with them. I will be posting these regularly until they run out next year sometime: if you have others to add, please send them to me.
Let me offer a very local and highly successful story of someone who is making a difference in their community. In Tucson, we suffer, like many American cities, with shocking stories of senseless violence, where it seems the baser emotions and drug or alcohol-induced reactions seem to prevail at times. We even had the murder of several staff and the serious wounding of a sitting national US Representative, Gabby Giffords, by a deranged individual several years ago. She and her husband Mark Kelly are now leaders of an anti-gun advocacy group that claims credit for several key victories in this month’s election.
But I’d like to raise up a different individual, Jeannette Mare, who started Tucson’s “Ben’s Bells” about 10 years ago after the death of her toddler son. She did it to respond to her deep grief and wanted to highlight all the goodness and kindness in our community. Each week in the daily newspaper an individual is recognized with a picture, along with their nominator, and a brief write-up of why they were being recognized. It reaches down into all the various organizations, schools, religious groups, and other approaches where individuals are acting out their care and concern for their local community, especially the individuals who are in need of such care and concern. The mission of Ben'[s Bells is to “inspire people to understand that the practice of kindness is a lifetime endeavor.” Other communities are following suit in this community-wide, non-partisan, non-religious approach. Further information can be found at bensbells.org.