Local organization sponsoring "Acts of Kindness" week.
COLUMBIA - The Children's Grove is hosting its annual "Acts of Kindness" week April 29th through May 3rd. The week's kickoff event is Sunday at 3:00p.m. at the Stephens Lake Park Amphitheater.
The Children's Grove is both an organization as well as an actual grove of 41 Butterfly-Magnolia and Crabapple "kindness" trees. The president of the organization, Anne Deaton, said the trees were first planted in 2014 to memorialize the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
"People came together in the Columbia community and said 'we have to do something to memorialize these children.'" Deaton said. "They wanted to do something that would memorialize children that actually had met harm ways anywhere at anytime."
Now, the trees additionally represent the Children's Grove's goal of providing community support for youth and inspiring kindness throughout the community. Deaton said she hopes to achieve two things through Acts of Kindness week.
"One is to inspire a culture of kindness in Columbia and Boone county," Deaton said. "The other is that we support community mental health education about issues related to the well being - the emotional and psychological well being of children, youth and young adults."
Deaton said the "kindness trees" have a strong symbolic meaning.
"The trunks of the tree are really about the adults in the community who want to be there for our children: for their safety, for their well being, for their emotional well being and for their happiness," Deaton said. "The branches of the tree are symbolic in that they embrace all children."
Events in the Acts of Kindness week range from panel discussions to placing kindness trees at various schools in Columbia. The organization is showcasing "kindness street chalk" in downtown Columbia at their next event.