Feb. 23—The final week of the Be Kind Campaign kicked off on Monday evening with a special virtual presentation by Leon Logothetis, the author of a book and producer of a Netflix show both called "The Kindness Diaries."
The Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way and partners Evangelical Community Hospital and the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit hosted the event on Facebook Live and Zoom. Logothetis spoke of his own personal journey as he traveled the globe for 10 years to more than 100 countries to highlight the good in humanity.
"To me, kindness is simply helping someone feel less alone," said Logothetis. "Everyone knows what it feels like to feel alone. When you go out of your way to intentionally make someone feel like they are connected, everything changes. You all know what it feels like when someone is unkind. Hopefully you all know what it feels like when someone is kind."
He said people have two ways to live: in the mind and consumed by "the madness of society;" or from the heart from a place of compassion, love and empathy.
The goal is not about being perfect, he said.
"What it is about is making a commitment," said Logothetis. "Many of us make a commitment to families and work, but how many of us make a commitment to show up in the world?"
In his travels, Logothetis said he learned that humans are basically the same.
"It doesn't matter what color you are, what religion you are. It doesn't matter how much money you have or how little you have," said Logothetis. "We are all the same. We want to be seen, we want to be heard and we want to be loved."
The secret to life is "be gentle to yourself," and "kindness is your greatest strength," he said.
The United Way deemed the month of February as the second annual Be Kind campaign with a theme of how to be kind each week.
Joanne Troutman, the president/CEO of the United Way, said she has been "blown away" by the response to the Be Kind Campaign.
"We wanted to start a grassroots movement, something that enabled us to remind each other about the power in simple deeds that foster human connections," said Troutman. "We wanted to create a simple statement, a reminder that sometimes being a little more intentional and giving something a little bit of extra thought, or a little extra time, can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary that has a profound impact on someone's life."
Kendra Aucker, president/CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, said kindness has been her own philosophy as well as being part of the hospital's mission.
"If we each strive to treat one another with kindness, compassion and respect, the world would be so much brighter," said Aucker. "It sounds so simple, but it is for sure very powerful. If you give the world love, you will find it coming back to you."
Aucker encouraged others to lend helping hands to those in need, check on neighbors, ask friends and colleagues how they're feeling and reconnect virtually with friends.
This week's theme is "Be kind to yourself." Participants are encouraged to practice self-care as a priority and set aside time during the week to focus on mental and physical health.