The Kindness Quest movement inspiring change

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While observing someone helping another individual can make you feel cheerful and happy on the inside, there’s nothing like offering a random act of kindness yourself. 

Sarah Stapleton, fourth-year music student and the founder of The Kindness Quest, designed a movement to perform a simple act of kindness each day. 

The Kindness Quest is a mission Stapleton created in part as a mental health initiative, and wanting to bring more good into the world. 

“The goal of the Kindness Quest was originally to create one random act of kindness every day for all of 2020,” Stapleton said. 

Stapleton’s idea was realized on the day before Thanksgiving. 

“I had been out shopping and decided to end the day and donate to Indigo’s Love of Reading fund. I thought it would make sense in the spirit of Thanksgiving coming up,” Stapleton said.

As she arrived at the cash register, every single customer behind her saw her donating money and followed her footsteps.

“I was so inspired that one random act of kindness could inspire another. I knew I really wanted to do something with it. The next Monday, I created The Kindness Quest,” Stapleton said.

Towards the end of 2019, Stapleton spent a couple of months testing out random acts of kindness, and seeing what she could do. That was when she solidified the mission. 

“The Kindness Quest originally began on Jan. 1, 2020. I started performing daily random acts of kindness, but everything was anonymous. I had the website, but it was only for my use, for me to maintain accountability and keep track of what I was doing,” Stapleton said

“The acts started to get larger and more personalized. All throughout February, I had done so many of them and I wanted to keep being creative and grow. The choice was automatically made for me when everything started going into lockdown; in-person acts weren’t possible anymore.” 

“Towards the end of March, I created the Instagram page for The Kindness Quest. I figured I need to find a way to keep this going, so I’m going to bring it virtually,” she said. 

The Kindness Quest grew from 100 followers in mid-April to over 1,000 followers in mid-May. 

“We started some fun challenges. One challenge was ‘Spot the Kind.’ People would find acts of kindness around them. We [also] presented to the ‘Self-Care Club’ at Conestoga College. A number of accounting firms and other businesses have found us and we have done general Kindness Quest sessions because they want to bring kindness into their work environments,” Stapleton said. 

Stapleton is in the brainstorming phase of turning The Kindness Quest into a non-profit organization.  

Despite the unfortunate circumstances that COVID-19 has created, Stapleton still found a way to open it up more than she ever would have thought possible.

“I saw it as something that would only be me. I thought it would be something I would do on my own. Being in isolation reminds you to be grateful for the connections you have. I realized how deeply important connection was to me,” Stapleton said.

“There is a real sense of community. A number of group chats and Instagram accounts of people just supporting each other have been created as well. I found the kindness to come full circle.”

Stapleton said she has become a better and kinder person while performing these acts of kindness — “You gain as much as you give.” 

“The pandemic has forced people to really appreciate who you have in your life because you couldn’t see them anymore. It made you take accountability for yourself and realize: you are by yourself, what do you want to do with that time?” Stapleton said.

The pandemic has inspired Stapleton to be innovative, think differently and cultivate community. 

The young creator of The Kindness Quest says the mission is important to her because she is an enormous advocate for mental health.

“I believe that everyone deserves access to wellness support, to maintain their mental wellness. I think that acts of kindness are one of the simplest and easiest ways to go about doing that,” Stapleton said.

“We are designed for connection. Acts of kindness are in our DNA. Everyone is fundamentally a kind person, and I think it’s easy to forget. We are in a world that is busy and we’re so achievement-based. If we take a step back and remember to be nice to each other, I really believe that does change the world.” 

“It’s personally important to me because acts of kindness were the one thing that I’ve come back to. If I am struggling with my own mental health or struggle with my personal life, the one thing that makes me feel [good] no matter what, is acts of kindness,” she said. 

Stapleton said that every single act of kindness matters. She believes everyone has the potential to change the world, and the little things add up. 

“One act of kindness inspires another — this is how we make the world better. It can create a huge impact and change. Believing in your own ability to be kind is so important because it’s who we are,” Stapleton said.

To get involved with The Kindness Quest, you can create your own kindness quest. 

“Some people enjoy making a calendar and planning it in advance. Others find they become very spontaneous with their kindness and they practice doing it. It becomes kind of like a habit,” Stapleton said.

“One of the easiest ways to stay with it is to build that community. You can connect with us on Instagram; message me for support. I have given people private coaching so that they can develop their own act of kindness and opportunities to find kindness, especially virtually.”

“We are always finding ways to make it fun and achievable. We have bingo games that people have played: you fill in the squares regarding the act of kindness that you completed,” she said.

The Kindness Quest also constructed the idea of assigning people “Kindness Buddies,” where you check in with each other.

“If it was a busy or hard day, the kindness buddies support each other and create a new act of kindness together. Remembering that community element, especially when we’re virtual, is a huge part of bringing it into your life every day and practicing it,” Stapleton said.

Doing something nice for others is a win-win for both giver and receiver, as each person receives the rewards. Even by simply putting a smile on your face, you can change your surroundings and build a more positive environment for those around you.

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