Community kindness campaign set to launch in Williamsburg area

By: Aesia Toliver 

Posted: Jan 16, 2019 02:40 PM EST

Updated: Jan 16, 2019 06:23 PM EST

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) -- A new initiative designed to inspire change and promote kind acts in local schools, government, businesses and neighborhoods is set to launch in the Williamsburg area next month.

The current class of LEAD Greater Williamsburg is planning to launch the campaign, called WMBGkind, in the city of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. 

"We wanted to create a platform where everybody could come together and showcase the wonderful good deeds that are going on in our community," explained LEAD class member, Melanie Wynkoop. 

The executive director of the R.F. Wilkinson Family YMCA Sarah Sutton, who's also a LEAD class member, says the kindness is catching on. 

"On social media a gentleman highlighted last week had gone and picked up trash because with the government shut down trash wasn't getting picked up on the side of the road and that particular post got so many likes a reshares and that's something he was going to do anyways," said Sutton. 

LEAD Greater Williamsburg says the campaign is mirrored after a similiar program that was created in Anaheim, California in 2010 when the mayoral candidate at the time, Tom Tait, ran his election on a platform of kindess and won. 

Tait's philosophy and efforts during his time in office gained national attention. He will be the guest speaker at the WMBGkind kick-off event at Legacy Hall on Feb.1. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A Community Campaign of Kindness to Launch in Williamsburg, James City County and York County

For Immediate Release

A Community Campaign of Kindness to Launch in Williamsburg, James City County and York County

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (Jan. 14, 2019) – The current class of LEAD Greater Williamsburg, a leadership community immersion program sponsored by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance, announces its newest campaign—WMBGkind. The initiative is designed to inspire meaningful change in the region’s schools, local governments, businesses and neighborhoods through both random and intentional acts of kindness.

The group’s efforts are already gaining traction on social media and even have the stamp of approval from Richmond. Gov. Ralph Northam recently issued a proclamation declaring Feb. 10

– 16, 2019 International Random Acts of Kindness Week across the Commonwealth.

“We are so excited to have the support of the governor and his administration in our efforts to promote a culture where Virginia’s schools, localities, businesses, organizations and citizens can come together to encourage acts of kindness in the Commonwealth. The most simplistic act of kindness can create a ripple effect that exponentially impacts those directly and indirectly involved in a very positive and lasting way,” says Heather Hall, 2019 LEAD ambassador for community engagement.

The WMBGkind initiative is mirrored after a similar program created in Anaheim, Ca. in 2010. Mayoral candidate Tom Tait ran for election on a platform of kindness and won by a large margin. During his two consecutive terms in office, he implemented several neighborhood programs and initiated a challenge within the city’s elementary schools to perform A Million Acts of Kindness. According to the superintendent, the direct result was almost a fifty percent decrease in disciplinary actions.

Tait’s efforts garnered international attention when he was invited to speak to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India about how a more connected community was addressing the root causes of social issues in his city such as bullying in schools, drug abuse in families and elder neglect.

Tait will be a guest speaker during a kick-off event in Williamsburg on February 1 at Legacy Hall in New Town. He has been an invaluable resource and mentor for LEAD organizers as they

prepare to officially launch the campaign for Greater Williamsburg. Steven S. Kast, President and CEO of the United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, has also been an advocate of the program and will speak at the event.

WHRO Executive Producer and Host of Another View Barbara Hamm Lee will act as the Mistress of Ceremonies. More than 200 local leaders from various organizations have been invited to participate and learn more about implementing the campaign in their respective industries. The media is also invited to attend.

“We are inviting leaders within the community including education, non-profit, businesses, government officials, civic and faith-based leaders to help make the Greater Williamsburg area the next City of Kindness,” says Matthew Williams, 2019 LEAD Class President.

After the kick-off event, representatives from LEAD will spend the next several months speaking at community events, canvassing neighborhoods to meet with citizens and spreading acts of kindness through their social media channels using #WMBGkind. After the class’ graduation in May, the United Way has agreed to assume responsibilities for the program. It will continue to promote the initiative, which aligns with their mission, to further bring the community together. 

Connect with WMBGkind:

Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @wmbgkind #WMBGkind

Media Contact: Jessica Wauhop (757.890.3562) 

LEAD is a program of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance that provides opportunities for recognized and emergent leaders to collaborate on issues of importance to the region.

Ralph S. Northam recognize February 10-16, 2019, as Random Acts of Kindness Week

Ralph S. Northam recognize February 10-16, 2019, as Random Acts of Kindness Week

Random Acts of Kindness Week


WHEREAS, a single act of kindness can decrease stress, boost happiness, lower blood pressure, and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin; and

WHEREAS, studies show that “people imitate not only the particulars of positive actions, but also the spirit underlying them … this implies that kindness in itself is contagious and that it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.” – Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia can lead by example to promote positivity and support a culture where schools, localities, businesses, organizations, and individual citizens can come together to acknowledge, connect, and promote kindness in our community; and

WHEREAS, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia would all benefit from Random Acts of Kindness; and

WHEREAS, during Random Acts of Kindness Week, Virginians are encouraged to go above and beyond their daily interactions with individuals to perform random acts of kindness for other citizens of our Commonwealth;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize February 10-16, 2019, as RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.