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Forum aims to spark community-wide caring campaign

E. Scott GellerHow can acts of kindness change the world? How can a community ignite a movement that creates a compassionate, interdependent and empathic culture through small acts of kindness?

These are the topics of this year’s free Fall Forum, presented by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service, Texas Woman’s University, North Central Texas College and Denton Independent School District. 

E. Scott Geller, right, Alumni-Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Virginia Tech University, will talk to the community about the Actively Caring for People movement at 11 a.m. Oct. 2 in the Coliseum. Olympian bobsledder and UNT alumnus Johnny Quinn will wrap up the event by sharing his experiences with social media and discussing how social media can spark immediate change.

Geller and his students began the movement after the April 16, 2007, shootings at Virginia Tech. Since its inception, the movement has encouraged people across the world to incorporate intentional acts of kindness in their daily routines.

“Everyone has the ability to care for others; all we need is a proactive approach,” said Thomas Evenson, dean of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service. “Most importantly, caring for others is easy. Through caring for others, as a community, we collectively possess the ability to make an impressive difference in each other’s lives and our community at large. Help us achieve our goal to create a community that actively cares.”

The Actively Caring for People (AC4P) movement encourages people to observe an act of kindness, thank the person for caring and give the person a green AC4P wristband. The recipient then pays it forward by passing on the wristband when seeing someone else engaged in an act of kindness. By encouraging people to actively care, individuals are inspired to perform intentional acts of kindness as part of their daily routine, ultimately leading to an actively caring culture and community.

Green wristbands will be handed out at the UNT event, and attendees will be encouraged to share them with the community when they witness acts of kindness. People are encouraged to share their stories on the Actively Caring for People website and other social media using the #DentonHumanityRestored hashtag.

Immediately following the 11 a.m. program, UNT will host a community engagement fair to allow students and community members to learn more about local nonprofit and student organizations and how they can plug in and volunteer within these agencies to impact the community. Community members will continue the discussion at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at Oak Street Draft House, 308 E. Oak St. in Denton. 

“The purpose of the Fall Forum is to welcome back our students by engaging in an educational experience that will stay with them,” Evenson said. “We hope students will walk away with ideas about how to make an impact in the community.”

- Ellen Rossetti, News Promotions 

Posted on: Tue 23 September 2014

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