Tucson has a local treasure that continuously impresses me. Ben’s Bells is a non-profit organization founded by Jeanette Mare in 2002. The creation of the organization was in response to her son’s tragic sudden death caused by clogged airways with a case of croup cough. He was 6-years-old, and Jeanette says of that time in her life, “The depth of pain we were experiencing was beyond description…Slowly, we began incorporating coping strategies into our lives. We came up with a design for Ben’s Bells and started making them in our back yard studio with friends. The therapeutic effect of working with clay was amazing as was the power of being surrounded by people talking and working toward a common goal. We decided to make hundreds of the Bells and distribute them randomly in our community to encourage the kindness that we so depended on to get through each day.”
She has done just that and has been so successful spreading kindness throughout this community. Here is a picture of a beautiful Ben’s Bell:
Not only can a local Tucsonan possibly find one of these bells with a reminder to spread kindness, but Mare has also developed programs within local schools to encourage kindness among students and staff, and community members can nominate people who they feel deserve a bell for their extraordinary efforts of genuine kindness. It is the beautiful nonprofit with such goodness at its core. After meeting Jeanette Mare at a few events, it is easy to be drawn to her. Her passion for spreading kindness and making a difference in the community is contagious as her mission is so pure. Please check out Ben’s Bells website by clicking HERE.
Ben’s Bells has been in the news over the last several weeks. There has been a large community effort to volunteer at the Ben’s Bells’ headquarters in order to make bells for Newtown, CT. A “kindness committee” headed to Connecticut and distributed the Bells in hopes of reaching out to this hurting community. Tucson, after all, has been through our own suffering from a mass shooting, and yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of that awful day. All across Tucson, people rang bells as a message of peace and kindness and solidarity. We rang bells for Newtown, too, and Ben’s Bells helped us give them a gift from a city that feels a kinship.
Please let Ben’s Bells be a model for people everywhere. It is our duty to spread kindness in a world that sometimes needs mending but also just randomly and without being provoked.
My song of the day is 70’s disco favorite “You Can Ring My Bell” by Anita Ward as reminder to ring joyfully as much and as often as you can. Click HERE to enjoy this fun song, and please don’t forget to “be kind!”