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When it seems like there’s noth­ing but stress­ful news in the world, there’s only one thing to do: Spread as much joy as you can! A new pro­gram called The Great Kind­ness Chal­lenge: Fam­ily Edi­tion en­cour­ages—and em­pow­ers— fam­i­lies to not only deepen their con­nec­tions with each other, but their com­mu­ni­ties too.

The pro­gram grew out of an in-school ini­tia­tive cre­ated in 2012 by the Carls­bad, Ca-based non­profit Kids for Peace, led by vet­eran teacher and co­founder Jill Mc­mani­gal. She and a group of stu­dents brain­stormed a check­list of 50 ways to be kind at school dur­ing a sin­gle week.

“It was a way for kids to do some­thing pos­i­tive to cre­ate a cul­ture of in­clu­sion, joy, and re­spect,” Mc­mani­gal says. The pro­gram was a hit at the three found­ing schools, and the word quickly spread, in­spir­ing hun­dreds of new schools to join the chal­lenge ev­ery year. In 2017, 10 mil­lion stu­dents in more than 15,000 schools world­wide par­tic­i­pated.

The next goal, with the help of part­ner Has­bro and its Be Fear­less Be Kind ini­tia­tive, is to bring the pro­gram into your home. To get started, sim­ply make a pledge to com­plete 50 acts of kind­ness—use the pro­gram’s list on the right or make your own!

Every­thing kicks off the week of Jan­uary 22, but there’s no time limit to fin­ish. Take a month or a year. The hope is that this will re­mind you that one fam­ily can make a dif­fer­ence, and you can give back to your com­mu­nity. “We want par­ents to know that em­pa­thy and kind­ness are crit­i­cal skills we all need to cul­ti­vate, es­pe­cially with our kids,” says Karen Davis, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of global phi­lan­thropy and so­cial im­pact at Has­bro Inc. in Prov­i­dence, RI.

Are you ready? Save this page, put it on the fridge, and start check­ing off your fam­ily’s good deeds. Share your ex­pe­ri­ences by tag­ging #Gkc­fam­i­ly­fun on so­cial me­dia. The Fam­i­ly­fun ed­i­tors will be join­ing in too. We can’t wait to see all the good you ac­com­plish!

Vol­un­teer­ing in your com­mu­nity is a great way to spend a Satur­day.

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