Trying a little kindness

Rebecca Broadbent makes cards with her three children Ollie (left), Jack (centre) and Archie.

Three years ago Cambridge woman Rebecca Broadbent launched an initiative designed make a positive difference in the Waipā community at grassroots level.

“There were some awful things being reported in the media at the time – including two serious child neglect cases – and I started thinking about what I could do to help,” the mother of three said.

“I felt if I could do something to show my boys how we should be treating people, maybe one day they would stand up and do what is right and be part of the solution, not the problem.”

So, in 2017, she created Act of Kindness (AOK), a free service designed to connect Waipā people with family-friendly volunteer work.

Now she is celebrating a major milestone for her award-winning organisation, which has just achieved registered charity status.

“It feels amazing because it’s been a long process,” Broadbent said. “It will make us eligible for extra government support, open up new funding avenues and give a bit more structure and bones to the organisation, which will help our growth and development over the coming years.”

The organisation has also taken another significant step forward recently with its expansion into Auckland.

The move happened after discussions with Broadbent’s friend Sarah Spence, who was “100 per cent sold” on the Act of Kindness concept and wanted to start something similar in her home city.

“We had an established brand and a model she was passionate about, and we agreed it would be amazing to expand AOK,” Broadbent said.

About 40 families from all over Auckland had already signed up and there had been “lots of wonderful support and heaps of people wanting to get involved”.

Act of Kindness’s past projects have included regular rest home visits, environmental restoration work and the distribution of care packages to people in need.

With physical distancing regulations hampering much of this work at present, AOK has developed “kindness starter packs” to allow families to continue reaching out to others during Covid-19.

“The whole idea of it is that we start intentional conversations at home about kindness – what is it? Why do we need to be kind? What does it look like, feel like and sound like? And those intentional conversations provide a place for young people and their families to learn about how we can be kinder, and it equips our children with another set of tools they can use to be a better person and also make a difference in our community,” Broadbent said.

The packs can be ordered free through the organisation’s website, www.actofkindness.co.nz.

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