MAYFIELD – Thinking of the impending Thanksgiving holiday, the mind (and stomach) may drift into turkey and salad dressing, various casseroles, pumpkin pie, soccer, and naps. But during the month of November, a Graves County group continues their own tradition of spreading kindness and remembering that there is something to be thankful for.
Graves County Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention Agency (ASAP) and its Youth Council, made up of student representatives from local school systems, use Thanksgiving month to do “random acts of kindness.” to promote the spirit of generosity after more than a year of struggles, many of which stem from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Youth program coordinator Courtney Williams said mental health issues have increased during the pandemic, especially among adolescents, and some people have turned to substances as coping mechanisms during this time. But her goal and that of the youth group – which extends beyond the 30 days of the month – is to foster kindness and help people stay away from drug addiction.
âIf we encourage kindness and treat others the way we want to be treated, then they might not turn to this substance,â she said. âYou never know what’s going on at home. You never know what someone is dealing with in their personal life, so we can be kind and treat others respectfully.
Williams was a student at ASAP Youth Council when the Kindness Campaign began in Mayfield and Graves County in 2016, which has continued to evolve into a sort of guerrilla marketing effort with positive social media messages (like l use of # BeKind270 as a local effort to raise awareness of hashtags on stickers on detergent bottles at local laundromats.
This year’s efforts also include posts on coffee mug sleeves at a local cafe and bookmarks at the Graves County Public Library. They also produced their annual kindness calendar with various ideas that people can do for others each day, such as donating to a local cause, giving an extra tip at a restaurant, or cleaning someone’s house in the area. need.
On November 8, Williams added, the Youth Council will be performing random acts of kindness throughout the community and handing out gift cards and flower bouquets. The following week, council members will contribute to the local Moses Basket program, which supports children in foster care and their foster families or loved ones with clothing and preparation items for the children’s placements.
Later this month, they will be presenting gifts in appreciation and support to law enforcement and first responders in County Mayfield and Graves. And working with family resource and youth service centers at local schools, they will also be hosting a Thanksgiving meal at Carr’s Steakhouse for selected families.
All the hard work to be kind to others is not only a ray of sunshine for the recipients, but the students of the council also take what they do to heart.
âI really love being able to get out into the community, give back and help cultivate a better culture and a better environment for my peers and my family,â said Alexis Garcia, president of the Youth Council and Mayfield High School. âFor me, it’s more than just community service. It is a youth initiative encouraging others to treat others with kindness.
And Williams added that now, when the weather can seem cold and gloomy and some members of the community may be without families, it’s a great time to be compassionate with others.
“I think it’s a perfect example and a perfect time because it’s around Thanksgiving and you are spreading gratitude and kindness.”