Kindness Campaigner

Kindness campaigner reaps more honors

by Elizabeth Barker

The accolades keep rolling in for Bakersfield College professor Chuck Wall, who became a local celebrity when his students turned a classroom assignment into a nationally recognized kindness campaign.

In the last one and a half years, Wall has been on several national television shows, has been featured in at least one national publication and is a heavily sought-out public speaker.

Random kindness has even reached Congress, which declared Feb. 17 the first National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

That is the same day that Discovery Toys Inc. named Wall as one of its three Project Peace Heroes for 1995.

Discovery issued an invitation to educational and community leaders in the United States and Canada last year to have their projects compete for the award, which recognizes projects that help children understand the three C's of Peace - compassion, conversation and cooperation. Thousands of applications were received.

Wall said a woman saw him on the Canadian television show "Hour of Power" and thought he would make a good candidate. She contacted Discovery Toys, which then invited Wall to complete an application explaining his part in the random kindness movement.

If you haven't seen one of the "Today I Will Commit One Random Act Of Senseless Kindness, Will You?" bumper stickers, you probably haven't lived in Bakersfield very long.

Those stickers are the result of a classroom assignment Wall made after hearing a radio report about another random act of senseless violence.

 

He asked the class to go out and commit a random act of senseless kindness and the students liked the feeling good deeds gave them so much they made the bumper stickers.

Those simple, red-and-white, $1 stickers have now won Wall $1,500 toward his Kindness Foundation's projects, $3,500 in Discovery toys and an all-expense paid trip to a Phoenix resort where Wall will accept his prize next month.

"Of all the awards and recognition I've received, this one is a special honor because it deals with children and that's the group we're trying to focus on," Wall said.
 

"They are the best carriers of this information because they seem to be the most open to the idea of random kindness.

"They don't have the excuses adults come up with, for example, grown men who have the preconceived notion that kindness is not masculine," Wall said, adding that his foundation is working on a puppet video for kindergarten through third-graders and on a kindness poster program he would like to see in elementary schools statewide.

He said he would be giving some of the toys he is awarded to family members and to parents in his BC human relations class, but that most of the toys would be given to local organizations like the BC child development center, Community Connection for Child Care, the children's ward at Kern Medical Center and to the blind children the Braille Center of Kern County works with.
 

The recipients of the other two Project Peace Heroes awards are: Penny Hume and Phil Levson of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, for their Turn In Your Violent Toys Day project, which raises the awareness of children and their parents about the negative impacts of violent toys, compact discs and videos and teaches them positive alternatives; and Gary Weart of Charlotte, N.C., for his Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) program, which teaches students to find solutions to violence, learn conflict resolution and gun safety. Weart's program, now in 46 states, was recognized last year by the U.S. Justice Department as a national model for school violence prevention.

Reprinted with the permission of The Bakersfield Californian.

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