NAUGATUCK — The Parks and Recreation Department has adopted the 26 Acts of Kindness initiative and is seeking volunteers to help spread the love.
The movement was inspired by a tweet from NBC’s Ann Curry in response to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Shortly after the Dec. 14 shootings, Curry took to Twitter and called on people to commit acts of kindness in honor of the 20 students and 6 staff killed at the school. The idea took on a life of its own in the social media realm and has grown across the country and world.
The borough’s Park and Recreation Department embraced the campaign after receiving a mass email in February to members of the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association from Rocky Hill Recreation Supervisor Chris Rusack.
In the email, Rusack shared Rocky Hill’s program, touched on how well it’s been received in the town and encouraged other departments to join the movement.
In an interview, Rusack said Rocky Hill initiated its 26 Acts of Kindness program on Valentine’s Day and about 400 people are signed up.
He said he sent the email out in the hopes of getting other towns to join the movement.
“I figured why not try to get more towns involved,” Rusack said.
Kim Eyre, the borough’s recreational director, said officials liked the idea and wanted to bring it to Naugatuck.
“We decided it was a really nice idea and decided to do it as well,” Eyre said.
Rusack said 15 towns in the state, including Naugatuck, have started their own initiative following the email.
“I’m happy that they are stepping up and getting it going,” Rusack said about Naugatuck’s campaign.
The way the program works is people register at the Parks and Recreation Department, 246 Rubber Ave., and receive a form to log their acts of kindness. The department is asking those who register to perform 26 acts of kindness by July 4. There is no financial commitment and the first 100 people to sign up will receive a free T-shirt.
“They just agree to commit 26 acts of kindness by the Fourth of July — very simple,” Eyre said.
Eyre said there is no direction for what acts people can do.
On a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/26acts) dedicated to the campaign people have posted their acts including paying for someone’s order behind them in line at Starbucks and making dinner for a friend.
“It can be anything,” Eyre said.
Rusack said the beauty of the program is that the acts can be big or small. “Holding the door open for people behind you is a small act of kindness,” he said.
Registration opened last week for Naugatuck’s campaign. Eyre said about six people have signed up thus far. For more information on the program or how to register, call the Public Works Department at (203) 720-7071.