Sam Bonwit presents Project Kindness to the village council. Submitted Photo.

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Reinforcing the message that “kindness never hurts,” Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone Jan. 14 proclaimed Feb. 11 through Feb. 15 to be Kindness Week in Forest Park.

Adoption of the proclamation by the Forest Park Village Council followed a presentation by Amy O’Connell, first grade teacher at Betsy Ross Elementary School, and two of her pupils, Luna Foster-Flores and Sam Bonwit, about School District 91’s Project Kindness.

O’Connell and her pupils explained how pupils in all five District 91 schools are creating Project Kindness labels to be provided to Forest Park businesses for distribution to their customers during Kindness Week.

Also participating in the effort are the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, Forest Park Public Library and Park District of Forest Park. 

Referring to O’Connell as the “mastermind of this great initiative,” Calderone noted that kindness “in our country and in our world is a little bit lacking.”

The proclamation acknowledges the objective of Project Kindness to “help District 91 students understand the importance of showing kindness to others and to encourage everyone in Forest Park to practice acts of kindness to brighten someone’s day”; states the “proud support” by the mayor and Village Council of the of “this heartfelt exercise” and applauds the students, teachers, and staff of District 91 “as they work toward creating a kinder and happier community”; and “encourages our residents, students and businesses to perform random acts of kindness to brighten another person’s day” during Kindness Week.

Calderone had special words of praise for O’Connell and her two pupils.

Of O’Connell, he said, “The community, school district and everyone owes a debt of gratitude to you for latching on to this easy gesture and taking the bull by the horns so to speak and carrying this out.” 

He also congratulated Flores and Bonwit for having the courage to address the Village Council, noting that even some adults have difficulty speaking before a group.

“When you are ready, I would certainly welcome the opportunity to be the recipient of one of these kindness stickers,” Calderone said. “I’d like to have one on my coffee cup.”

Supporting the presentation were Edward Brophy, assistant superintendent of operations; Bill Milnamow, principal of Betsy Ross School; and Scott Dunnell, district communication director.

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