The Lee County Bar Association introduced its new grassroots initiative, #KindLee, timed to begin in advance of Random Acts of Kindness Day on Feb. 17 and intended to spotlight and celebrate the kind acts performed in abundance throughout Southwest Florida. Residents are invited to post their stories with a photo on Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Facebook and include the hashtag #KindLee. The campaign will run through December 31, 2017.

A #KindLee post will be selected at the end of the year, an its author or featured kindly resident will receive a $500 donation presented by the LCBA Foundation for a charity of their choice in his or her name. The idea is to tip the scales toward kindness and skew the conversation to favor the inherent good of humanity rather than the cynicism that can all too often characterize it.

This grassroots action is an exciting component of the LCBA Cares initiative designed to better serve the organization’s members and the greater community. #KindLee was inspired by LCBA members Amanda and Brian Bartley, who turned their grief following the death of their baby, Trevor William Bartley, at 32 weeks’ gestation due to a rare umbilical cord accident, into a community service gift.

The couple created a card that friends could hand out to strangers that read: “Please accept this random act of kindness in honor of a sweet baby angel, Trevor William Bartley.” In this way, friends and family embraced the opportunity to imbue Trevor’s too-brief presence on Earth with rich and lasting meaning by making the world a better place. More than 200 random acts of kindness were performed in the child’s memory.

LCBA President Kelly Fayer said, “Amanda and Brian inspired our entire organization with their openness and grace while dealing with an unfathomable loss. I envision their example reaching out to every corner of the community like a ripple in a pond, making Lee County a better, kinder place to live. Kindness happens around us every day. It’s time to honor it where and when it happens.”

The LCBA encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and teams to take part in #KindLee. Examples of random acts of kindness include:
• Pay the toll for the car behind you or buy a cup of coffee for the person next in line
• Bring a bag of groceries to an elderly neighbor
• Find a manager and report a cashier or server for being amazing
• Deliver a pot of hot soup to an ill coworker
• Offer free babysitting to an overwhelmed mom or dad
• Clean up a neighborhood park
• Email a friend with an uplifting message
• Do something kind for yourself so you feel more kind toward others

However big or small, report your random acts of kindness on social media and use the #KindLee hashtag. Together, we can make Lee more kind. For more information and to read inspiring stories, visit leebar.org/KindLee.