A new student organization at William Woods University is promoting volunteerism and acts of kindness throughout Fulton.
Kindness Connection, a non-profit organization, has been created by WWU students this year as a way to reach out to the community in as many ways as possible.
Marisa Benthusen, a sophomore ASL (American Sign Language) interpreting major from Raymore, Mo., is president of Kindness Connection.
“Our hope is to promote a spirit of caring and go the extra mile for people in our community,” she said.
Benthusen’s New Year’s resolution to do a kind act everyday has quickly spread through the campus.
“I discovered that volunteering with other people is both fun and rewarding,” she explained. “I think that people are interested in joining because people are attracted to the idea of being kind to others.”
Kindness Connection is a 501(C)(3) organization with four officers in addition to Benthusen. They are Elizabeth Welker of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., vice president; Marissa McPherson of Cairo, Mo., treasurer; Katherine Wortmann of Mexico, Mo., area director, and Kathryne Stief of Seymour, Ill., area coordinator.
Each month, members of Kindness Connection connect with people in the community by sharing a random act of kindness. Each month has a specific theme for kindness, such as “do something kind for a co-worker” or “do something kind for a friend.” October’s theme was “do something kind for an elderly person.” November’s theme is “do something kind for a police officer or fireman.”
Members of Kindness Connection also take time to volunteer at local organizations. “We try to do an event helping a community group every month,” Benthusen said.
They have already offered their time at a local nursing home, spending time with residents and helping out in any way needed. Participants will also take part in Operation Christmas Child, an organization that delivers gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need world-wide.
Kindness Connection currently has 103 active members, most of which are students. However, Benthusen would like to see more participation from non-students.
“I think it is important for people to understand that it is not just a student group, it is a non-for-profit organization. We are trying to get more people involved from different areas and age groups,” she said.
For more information on Kindness Connection, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Benthusen at email@example.com.
Left to right, Kathryne Stief, Marisa Benthusen, Elizabeth Welker and Marissa McPherson are officers in the Kindness Connection, a new student organization at William Woods University.