Instilling Kindness in Kids

{Community Spotlight:  Karen DeBaker, Light ’em Up – Green Bay}

light 'em up - green bay

Meet Karen DeBaker, a local mom whose mission is to spread good.  Take a moment to read how she is changing the world with one random act of kindness at a time and learn how you can become part of the movement!


light em up

I’ll admit it, the news depresses me. Terrorist attacks, random shootings, two women recently murdered in quiet little Bellevue. How do you raise kids in such a violent and cruel world? How can I protect my kids when so many of these acts appear to be random? These questions and more kept me awake at night.

So I decided to do something about it.

I want my kids to grow up in a world that’s kind, respectful, helpful. If others can spread random acts of terror, why can’t I spread random acts of kindness? I started with a simple Google search and stumbled across “Light ’em Up,” the brainchild of Courtney DeFeo in Atlanta. ( She and her kids started performing random acts of kindness to bring a little more cheer to the holiday season.

She had some great ideas from “Ding, Dong Diaper Ditch” (delivering diapers to newborn babies) to handing out candy canes and making huge thank you posters for the garbage pickup crew. Spreading holiday cheer is great and all, but I believe kindness should be a year-round endeavor. So, with her permission, I started a Facebook Group called Light ’em Up – Green Bay and created a 2016 calendar filled with ideas of random acts of kindness. There were two requirements for an activity to make it on the calendar: 1) they had to be cheap/free to implement and 2) they had to be appropriate for families of all ages/abilities. After all, kindness shouldn’t be limited.

So off we went on our kindness journey! In the few months we’ve been up and running, group members have fed the homeless, delivered homemade baked goods for a variety of people (emergency personnel and nursing home residents), put quarters in Aldi’s grocery carts, passed out kites on a beach, shoveled snow for others and put smiles on countless people’s faces. All while our children participated and learned that no act of kindness goes unnoticed. They learned kindness is a way of life. They learned kindness begins with them.

The Greater Green Bay YMCA has embraced the initiative and invited us to present at the Girls Night Out events. Talk about inspiring! Challenge a 10-year-old girl to perform a random act of kindness and she’ll blow your mind with how many ways she can spread kindness.

The biggest challenge so far hasn’t been coming up with ways to spread kindness, it’s been getting people to post the amazing things they’re doing. People feel posting their random acts of kindness is bragging. But what they don’t know, is their post is inspiring! Kindness begets kindness just as violence begets violence.

Martin Kornfeild said “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”  Won’t you join us? What do you want to instill in your children?

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