The Kindness Collective is working hard to bring kindness to every Kiwi. With the help of over 5,000 people (and counting), this charitable foundation is creating a movement to make New Zealand the kindest place on the planet.
Their 100 Acts of Kindness initiative is happening now, and to see how your family can get involved, we spoke with the Collective’s founder, Sarah Page.
Today, Sarah explains the far-reaching benefits of kindness, and shares some ways for you to do good, and feel good.
Thanks for your time, Sarah. Why is kindness so important for parents, children and our wider community?
We believe that kindness is one of the most important values a person can have, and a society can hold.
Kindness isn’t just a buzz word to us, it’s an action. Being kind is actually about doing something for someone else, without expecting anything in return. So, kindness in that way, becomes empathetic and it’s about looking after other people, more than yourself.
There have been multiple studies done on the effects of kindness in society. All the results suggest that acts of kindness and generosity have many, meaningful ripple effects in the community, because people who witness or receive kindness then tend to be kind themselves.
This has a huge flow on effect of goodness all around us and increases care for those who are vulnerable in the community.
What led you to start the Kindness Collective, and what have you achieved so far, particularly in relation to families and early childhood centres?
The Kindness Collective began after my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at just 18-months-old. It became very apparent, very early on, that there isn’t much support in New Zealand that families can access easily and it led me to create a community group where we filled gaps in community support and provided easier access to the things in life that people needed.
It grew into something a bit bigger over the years and now we spread kindness in the form of help for Kiwis in need, however that looks!
Our charity has provided over $650,000 worth of practical community support, and we have recently begun working with early childhood centres.
Last year, we provided essentials support to a group of centres under an education charitable trust and then we also provided Christmas events for over 300 children. Each event had presents for kids, parties, entertainers, kai and extra kai, and voucher support for families doing it a little more tough.
We have provided other events for centres, like kai for Matariki events, donated books, warm winter pyjamas, clothing, bedding, blankets, food and kitchen whiteware (microwaves and chest freezers).
You’ve created a wonderful movement so far, and 100 Acts of Kindness is one of your key initiatives. Could you please tell us a little about this?
We have been operating at a local Auckland level for many years, but decided to take it one step further and spread kindness in practical, tangible ways around the rest of the country, so our 100 Acts of Kindness initiative is how we’re doing this.
We kicked the initiative off in September by building a sustainable community garden in Auckland, and are running several projects, both big and small, in other city centres around Aotearoa over the next 12 months and the years to come.
How can people sign up for the initiative, and what are some practical acts of kindness that families can do?
Anyone can be kind and teach their tamariki kindness! We have people, brands and business on board with the Kindness Collective, and there are lots of ways for families to get involved.
You can see what’s happening by checking our website (@kindnesscollectivefoundation) and there are so many ways that families can spread kindness in the community. For example, you can:
- Bake some yummy cookies for elderly people in your local rest home
- Help your community by picking up rubbish or mowing your neighbours’ or parents’ lawns
- Do extra chores around the house or community to earn money to donate to your favourite local charity
- Collect cans and other non-perishable pantry items from friends and family to take your to local pātaka kai
- Volunteer with your local charity, food bank or community group to help make food parcels, clean or help with whatever else needs doing.
Families can also donate new toys to our Christmas toy drive as an act of kindness.
On a personal note, what has brought you the most pleasure or satisfaction while you’ve been running the Kindness Collective, and what are your long-term hopes for the foundation and our country?
Nothing brings more joy than living life with purpose.
Personally, so many projects bring so much satisfaction, but in March and April 2021, we provided over 1,500 pairs of warm winter pyjamas to children, and worked with Cadbury to provide over 18,000 Easter eggs to families in need. That felt great to be able to bring Easter kindness to families who would have gone without otherwise.
This year, we are already working on multiple Christmas projects, including our social toy store, called the Christmas Joy Store! The store will be open in December for families referred to us and it enables parents to shop for toys for their children.
With many people still living in poverty and the additional pressures of a global pandemic, we believe the best gift we can give mums and dads this year is the gift of dignity and choice.
Our hope for the Kindness Collective is that we’re able to provide kindness to families and communities in need all over the country, and that being kind is every Kiwi’s first thought, behaviour and action.
This is all wonderful to hear, Sarah, and we encourage everyone to spread some collective kindness in the months and years to come.