Audrey Washington, Steve Pancione
Connecticut locals describe how participating in the 26 Acts of Kindness movement helped them heal
Just days after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the "26 Acts of Kindness" movement was born.
First proposed by NBC's Ann Curry, the concept of the "26 Acts," one for each of the lives lost at Sandy Hook, centered around healing through giving.
Wayne Harriman, of Wallingford, said he felt helpless after December 14.
“To shoot a 6 year old child for no reason is just, you know, why?" Harriman said. “I can’t understand the rationale behind it and I suppose we never will."
Then Harriman said he heard about the 26 Acts of Kindness movement and immediately decided to show random kindness, one day at a local restaurant.
“And it just hit me that this would be a great time to do something for someone else, so I just turned around and said I would like to pay for these peoples’ meal as well,” Harriman said.
His wife, Pat Harriman, joined in, as well.
“I needed two pies, so I bought three, so I decided to give someone a pie because Wayne had told me the story about Ann Curry and the acts of kindness. So I got to the checkout and I paid for it and then I turned around and gave it to the woman behind me,” Pat Harriman said.
In New Haven, photographer, Karissa Van Tassel decided to give her clients candid pictures of their families, free of charge.
She said the pictures of the young and innocent Sandy Hook School victims, gave her the inspiration.
“As my act of kindness as a souvenir of that time we had together, as a souvenir of their family to give them all an 8x10 portrait to make sure they have those memories around them, every day,” said Van Tassel.
“The meaning behind someone you don’t even know, just saying I care about people, I think as a community created such an overwhelming feeling of love,” Van Tassel said. “Throughout the process I was so phenomenally moved by all of the things people were doing just to say, I care.”
In Newtown, people continue to carry on the "26 Acts of Kindness" through small acts of giving. Someone left a small envelope with a bag of cocoa outside Town Hall. The note on the envelope read: “Kindness Warms Your Soul.”
Newtown resident, Betty Hallquist, says the envelope makes her happy to know the movement has not lost its momentum.
“We didn’t forget, we still care,” said Hallquist.
Harriman agrees and says even the smallest gesture, makes a difference.
“It doesn’t have to be something monetary, it could just be a deed you wouldn’t normally do out of the ordinary, for someone who isn’t expecting it,” Harriman said. “If you just take a few minutes out of your day to be kind to someone else, what a different world this would probably be.”