Someone emailed me several years ago to inform me about the Ben's Bells Project in Tucson, Arizona. I've been amazed at how the project has grown over the past few years and inspired by the amount of people finding Ben's Bells at just the right time to help aid in their healing. These beautiful ceramic wind chimes were the creation of Jeannette Maré as a form of therapy after the sudden death of her son, Ben. Jeanette and her husband, Dean, were so touched by the kindness they were shown during this difficult period and wanted to spread good will to others that may be in need of a little humanity. This was their way of honoring Ben and paying back the community for all the love and support given during their time of deep despair. With the support of thousands of volunteers, the team has made more than 23,000 bells and distributed them randomly throughout the Tucson area to be found by passersby with a note saying "Take me home and remember to spread kindness".
The only way to get your own Ben's Bell is to find one or to "belled" by someone for simply doing an act of kindness. Many local businesses participate in the program by recognizing the "bellee" of the week. Folks who go the extra mile to spread thoughtfulness can be nominated to receive a Ben's Bell for sharing their philanthropy with the Tucson community. Jeanette is also involved in developing kindness curriculums for schools as well.
Jeannette: “Any time somebody would do an act of kindness for me, I felt I had something to hold on to. I just started appreciating the gestures like I never had before. It was a lifesaver for me. I wanted to do something to honor Ben and I had to communicate this message that kindness is way more important than we realize. The Ben's Bells is an idea is to create a culture of kindness. We have to consciously talk about it and teach it.”
I encourage you to go to the website and read some of the amazing stories of Ben's Bells recipients and how the find made a difference in their lives. This short video made for the Making a Difference segment on the Nightly News created after the Tucson shooting tragedy last year explains the Ben's Bells Project and its impact beautifully.