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Ben's Bells Project Kindness In Action Speaker Series: 'Time To Get Serious About Kindness'



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DANBURY - Ben's Bells Kindness in Action Speaker Series is bringing to Connecticut speakers who are leaders in the Science of Kindness field. One part education, one part entertainment and pure inspiration, the events are being made possible by the generous support of local businesses and community members.a feature published earlier this year in The Arizona Republic.bensbells.org/speaker-seriesCT.facebook.com/BensBellsCT for additional information.

"Be Kind Now: It's Time To Get Serious About Kindness" will be presented Wednesday, November 2, in Ives Concert Hall (White Hall) on the main campus of Western Connecticut State University, 181 White Street. A reception with Ben's Bells Founder and Executive Director Jeannette Maré will begin at 6 pm, and the discussion will start at 7 pm.

Empathy levels are decreasing in our culture. And yet when elementary-age students successfully learn social and emotional skills - like intentional kindness - it is a greater predictor of success as an adult than academic skills. The question is: can kindness really change us as individuals, and as a culture?

Ms Maré will lead an in-depth discussion of the challenges and opportunities encountered in every interaction as people across the country strive to create kinder communities.

During the presentation, Ms Maré will reflect on her own personal experiences with kindness in the face of devastating grief, will share her work with Ben's Bells Project, and will discuss the emerging body of research on the science of kindness. Using humor and storytelling, Ms Maré will leave the audience inspired and equipped to incorporate the life-changing practice of kindness into their lives.

"We need to get serious about kindness," Ms Maré wrote in part for

"I know, 'kindness' sounds soft, but it is anything but. Kindness skills can be taught and practiced, and when we improve these skills, we improve every aspect of our lives. Kindness skills are vital for children's academic success, for employee wellness and for community connection," she continued. "The 2009 Gallup Arizona Poll revealed that Arizonans highly value community connection but don't feel connected to one another. Only 12 percent of Arizonans believe that people in their community care about one another. Ouch.

"From my experience, kindness is usually not a polarizing issue," she later wrote in the piece. "But there are some skeptics who question the value of the practice of kindness or who just oppose the idea of being a joiner. I get it. I joke that as the 'kindness lady' I have to leave town to be even a little grouchy. But my experience of the positive benefits of intentionally practicing these skills is undeniable. Even in my darkest moments - and I have plenty of them - I know that I have skills to employ that will allow me to experience those dark feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them and without taking them out on others."

Audience members will enjoy a relaxed evening with experts offering profound insights and lively discussion.

Cost for the program is $10 for adults, and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at

All proceeds support Ben's Bells community programming.

The mission of Ben's Bells is to inspire, educate, and motivate people to realize the impact of intentional kindness, and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness, thereby strengthening ourselves, our relationships and our communities.

Ben's Bells Project was founded in 2003 after the sudden death of Jeannette Maré's 2-year-old son, Ben. The simple, everyday acts of kindness following his death helped Ms Maré survive and begin to heal.

She was inspired to establish the Ben's Bells Project as a way to recognize and continue the kindness shown to her. On the first anniversary of Ben's death, 400 bells were hung in public places for strangers to find. To date more than 50,000 bells have been hung in Tucson and beyond. In addition to bell distributions, Ben's Bells Project provides kindness education programming for more than 350 schools, organizations and businesses.

Ms Maré and a few volunteers visited Newtown in January 2013, and hung the first post-12/14 Ben's Bells - handmade ceramic bead and small copper bell creations, which are hung in public places and meant to be discovered as random acts of kindness. A Ben's Bells Newtown studio opened in July of that year, the only Ben's Bells studio outside of Tucson, Ariz.

The studio relocated to Bethel in August 2015, and continues to welcome the public for sessions of creating and/or painting ceramic beads that ultimately become Ben's Bells, or Kindness Coins, another program of the nonprofit organization. The Bethel studio is at 32 Stony Hill Road; call 203-501-9999 or visit

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