Lacombe’s Kindness Month was officially launched on Feb. 1, marking a fresh partnership between Lacombe FCSS and BGC Wolf Creek – Lacombe.
“We had our official kick-off to our Kindness Campaign, and we had the mayor here, and some of council were represented, and Boys and Girls Club representatives for Lacombe – so it was an awesome turn-out,” said Crystal Zens, executive director of Lacombe FCSS.
This year marks the second annual campaign, which involves dropping off Kindness Kits to any local businesses that would like to take part.
Last year, 20 businesses collected the kits which include items to put up at work to help promote the month.
“It was such a great way to promote community collaboration, and kindness and to highlight our awesome city!”
Zens said FCSS staff also decided to partner with BGC Wolf Creek – Lacombe for the initiative.
BGC (formerly known as the Boys and Girls Club) set up operations in town this past fall.
“They do a huge pink shirt campaign so I thought, why not collaborate with them and help to give them some advocacy and exposure, too?
“So we are selling their shirts this year (Pink Shirt Day is on Feb. 22) in support of their new programs in Lacombe which are hugely popular.”
As for the Lacombe Kindness Campaign in general, Zens said the response this year has been nothing short of amazing.
At last count, 48 businesses had signed on to take part and pick up Kindness Kits.
The kits are packed with kindness-themed messages, posters, balloons, streamers, buttons, and all sorts of things to decorate with and to also showcase businesses in line with the overall campaign, she explained.
“The City has been very supportive, and Lacombe County is taking part, too. It’s just a lot of fun to work together with our community and take care of each other. Our city is so good at that already, so it’s good to highlight that.”
Zens said the campaign is unique to Lacombe, and that other FCSS offices in the province have reached out for tips on launching a similar venture in their own communities.
“This campaign just brings awareness alongside the initiative across Canada that is about anti-bullying and Pink Shirt Day. We just made it a whole month where we could work with other organizations and businesses collectively and have one voice.
“To see this kind of response – this community is profoundly generous and giving. And a great example of people taking care of their community in a kind and empathetic way,” she said.
For Reitz, the partnership made perfect sense.
“At the BGC Wolf Creek, we’ve been selling the pink shirts for many, many years. So we’ve really been supporting the Pink Shirt campaign, and we do month-long programming activities to sell and promote the shirts as well to promote kindness.
“You can’t put enough emphasis on this and it’s good to spread it throughout the whole month with the kids. We really only have two rules in our programs, and those are to be kind and to be respectful,” she added. “So this all works for us – it builds into a month where we can also really build into (the kindness theme).”
BGC has several kindness-related events happening through the month of February as well.
“Our whole month of programs is built around the kindness campaign.”
In the meantime, those interested in purchasing a pink shirt can call 403-704-4216 or stop by the FCSS office.
Proceeds from the sales of the shirts will go towards BGC anti-bullying initiatives.