College of the Atlantic senior focuses on acts of kindness

Posted May 18, 2011, at 1:04 p.m.
Last modified May 18, 2011, at 2:09 p.m.
Brooke Welty
Rogier van Bakel / Eager Eye Photography
Brooke Welty

BAR HARBOR — A man gives a woman a jacket, a woman smiles at strangers, a student is handed cab fare home, a little boy speaks about how he refrained from laughing at a friend. The stories surrounding these and other individual acts of kindness are being chronicled in “The Kindness Project” an online audio series that Brooke Welty, a College of the Atlantic senior, has created to fulfill the final project for her college degree.

The segments are available online at www.humjournal.com/kindness and also will form a radio program from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, May 27, on WERU, 89.9 FM

Welty, a 2007 graduate of Portland High School, created this project after many years as a political activist. Beginning with local organizing, mostly at her high school, focused on environmental issues, she became increasingly involved in large-scale concerns.

At COA, Welty became involved in statewide activism, then national lobbying, finally going to Copenhagen, Denmark, to attend the 2009 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. But once she arrived at the meetings, she realized that people were more concerned with forming networks than creating friendships. She missed making real connections to people.

“I want to affect people’s lives in a positive way. Sometimes it is the smallest things that make the biggest differences,” Welty said in a recent news release. “Small acts of kindness can be the ultimate grass-roots change.”

Since Welty began collecting stories about acts of kindness at the beginning of the year she has amassed numerous tales, including more than a dozen posted online. The stories keep coming to her, she says. “Everyone has a story of kindness, everyone has thousands. Thinking of one to share is the hard part.” Welty expects to keep collecting the stories, even after graduating this spring.

She hopes eventually to share these stories with a wider audience, perhaps by distributing them to radio stations elsewhere in the nation.

For more information on the Kindness Project, visit www.humjournal.com/kindness.

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