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Homegrown – Being Kind Is Cool

The week before Christmas, a few families decided to kick off the holly jolly week by taking our kids to see The Grinch. My daughter, who is three, had only been to one movie in her lifetime – actually, to be accurate, she has been to one half of a movie in her lifetime. My son, who is two, had never been to the big screen.

During the movie, I spent more time watching my kids’ reactions, rather than enjoying the plot line. However, at the end of the movie, as I started to pack our stuff, I paused at something the grumpy turned good Grinch toasted, “To kindness and love, the things we need most.”

I looked up at the screen and felt the little hairs on my arms stand up. While I have seen The Grinch 100 times too many, it was in that moment, exactly what my ‘tis the seasoned-out soul needed to hear.

Last year brought many hardships and challenges. However, it also brought many opportunities to be kind and spread love in times of darkness. I’ve witnessed two women from Our Town who have made kindness cool. The Grinch’s wise words inspired me to learn more about their missions, and to help pass on the good word that kindness truly is contagious.

afloat

It’s been said that the best entrepreneurs see a problem and identify a business as the solution. That is exactly what afloat, and local mom, Sarah-Allen Preston, did. Sarah found herself going through a rough patch and needing a little help during a dark time. She started wishing for a simple and uplifting way to help other people when they needed it. “I started afloat, because I needed afloat,” said Sarah.

afloat is a new way to care. It offers a do-good social app for connecting personal networks, businesses, and causes by creating groups and giving. The mission of afloat is simple, social, selfless. Those three words may be short and sweet, but, for me, they are relatable and full of meaning. While I may have an everyday busy life, I find afloat to be an easy way to simply be selfless.

Founder Sarah-Allen Preston, afloat

afloat is organically growing in Kansas City as Sarah works to grow her audience and presence by showing the power of simple acts of kindness from a phone. Around Our Town is a select group of women known as the “Selfless Squad,” who act as afloat’s cheerleaders. They are real women with real, relatable lives, who set out to do better and be better. “We are so lucky to live in such a great community, I couldn’t imagine a better place than my hometown to grow afloat,” added Sarah.

Sarah has grand plans to grow afloat beyond the Kansas City community, and to add events where groups can get together to support and celebrate each other. “Kindness is currency!” exclaimed Sarah. I love that statement and I will continue to remind myself that we all have the ability to be kind. Kindness is a choice.

I encourage you to download afloat, and explore the endless ways to get together, create groups, and give. We can spread kindness and lend a helping hand right from our fingertips.

Kids Kind Club

Just a hop, skip, and a jump down the kindness road is Kids Kind Club, founded and led by my dear friend, Carolyn Huggins. Mama Huggs, as she is known on her Instagram @kidskindclub, is leading a movement to build the next generation of humanity by incorporating kindness, joy, and gratitude into the daily lives of children.

The Kids Kind Club at Brighton Gardens
Carolyn Huggins, Kids Kind Club
Jeff, Henry, Carolyn, and Harrison Huggins

Kids Kind Club was established at the end of 2020, after Carolyn felt overwhelmed by the negativity and hatred that had sparked from everything from the pandemic to politics. “I was sick of seeing people treat each other with hate! I knew it would be hard to change adults, so I am focusing on building a kinder generation through children,” said Carolyn.

Through social media, Carolyn is using Instagram as her platform to teach parents and caregivers simple ways to teach kindness. She bases her teachings on the life lesson of treating others the way you want to be treated. Mama Huggs keeps kindness simple by giving daily tips, sharing resources, and planning ways kids can get involved by spreading cheer. “I have a passion and a natural ability to get on a kid’s level. I know I’m not reaching the kids directly through Instagram, but I’m reaching the ones they learn from and look up to,” added Carolyn.

I love following @kidskindclub and I look forward to posts and ideas from Carolyn. The biggest takeaway I have learned from her is that there are so many easy ways to be kind, and I asked Carolyn to share a few of her ideas:

* Keep it simple. Send a note to a loved one, friend, or stranger. You don’t need a specific reason to tell someone you love them or are proud of them.

  1. * Get involved. Involve your kids in all acts of kindness. Leading by example allows them to see the importance of acts both big and small.
  2. * Praise. Show praise when your children are kind by creating a Kind Box to place notes in when your child does something kind.

Not all heroes wear capes. However, Super Moms like Sarah and Carolyn both show that the kindness cape is a one-size fits all. As we start a new year, I am reminding myself to choose kindness. So much of our reality is out of our control, but one thing we can all control is the way we treat each other.

Also featured in the January 23, 2021 issue of The Independent
Photo Credit: Bailey Pianalto Photography
By Kelsey Potts

Kelsey Potts

Kelsey Potts is proud to be homegrown! The Kansas City native lives in Prairie Village with her husband, Whittaker, the couple’s two children, Finley and Jameson, and a very active Boxer named Phog. Kelsey attended Shawnee Mission East High School and is a graduate of The University of Kansas. She specializes in creative writing, event planning, and marketing for small businesses. When Kelsey isn’t chasing her children (or dog!), she loves to explore Kansas City, plan parties, entertain, and
spend time with family and friends.

Bailey Pianalto Photography

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