Meet Kindness Ambassador
Meet Kindness Ambassador
People like Kristin and our other Kindness Ambassadors are what it’s all about for The Good Cards. Even though being kind is second nature to them, they still want to do more and keep that ripple effect of goodness flowing out. We love welcoming people like this into our community and we hope you enjoy learning a bit more about Kristin and how kindness impacts her life.
Hi, my name is Kristin Behrmann Welch and by trade am a pediatric occupational therapist. I am a graduate of Quinnipiac University where I received my degree in Occupational Therapy, Cum Laude. I recently relocated from Long Island to Monroe County in NY with my daughter and husband. I have a strong background in Mindfulness Active Learning. I truly believe that kindness is the foundation for all social emotional learning and honestly is lacking in our culture. I will do anything to get that message going and reach as many people as possible.
In addition to my experience treating children and working with caregivers and educators, I have also developed and run various developmental groups, and provided lectures, workshops, and presentations to the community, parents, and professionals. Most recently I was working as a consultant for a Charter School where I served multiple roles, one being their Kindness Ambassador and another working with Whole Brain Teaching on their new initiative the Glorious and Kindness Venture.
I was born a congenital bilateral lower limb amputee and have worn prosthetics since the age of one. I was mainstreamed into a general education class in first grade (1976). I have dedicated my life to breaking down barriers, being a role model, increasing disability awareness, and assisting people to be all they can be. My mother became an active volunteer, and subsequently Long Island Director of the Easter Seals Society when I was very young. I was their poster child and spokeswoman when I was older. We grew up learning all about not-for-profits and dedicating our lives to helping others.
My daughter is 13 and I do my very best to instill in her the importance of kindness. She is an empathetic caring young lady and I could not possibly ask for anything more.
What drew you to The Good Cards?
Besides genuinely believing that in our high paced world we need to reinforce the concept of kindness, I loved your idea of using The Good Cards and app to track how far one small act of kindness could travel. I believe in the impact of one and the greater impact of working together.
Why do you think it’s important to be kind?
I believe that kindness is the foundation for all social emotional learning as well as keeping us mindful and present. Kindness comes from empathy and compassion. Devoting our resources to others while taking care of ourselves, rather than focusing on materialistic things, ultimately will bring about lasting well-being. The “good life” comes from appreciating social joys (playing, caring, touch, laughter, fun, amusement) which are built on the value/virtue of kindness and not from material things and in comparing who has what in determining social status.
What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you? How did it make you feel?
It is impossible to pick just one as so many have been kind and influenced my life, but one of the kindest and most valuable things anyone has done for me was making me aware of true kindness and the fact that there are people who are genuinely kind and empathetic because it is who they are; it is more than just being nice, it is doing for others because you want to and not out of any expectation for something in return. When first promoting random acts of kindness for the JACK Foundation, my daughter, then 11, said in a perplexing tone; “I don’t know what to do as an act of kindness.” It was then that I realized that she genuinely did things for others because she wanted to and not out of any need or because she was told to. I explained to her that she does random acts of kindness everyday and is an example to all and that more people needed to be like her. Her actions come from her heart. She provided me with the greatest gift of all, knowing that I was raising a child who genuinely cares for others which is more important than any other accomplishment she has achieved or ever will. Shortly after the JACK Foundation was started our neighbor, who was also her summer lacrosse coach and her 6th grade science teacher, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She and her classmate made cookies for him. When she brought them to him she told me that this was something she and her friend wanted to do without fully understanding that it was a true Act of Kindness.
What is the kindest thing you’ve ever done for anyone? What was your inspiration to do this?
Being kind is just a part of who I am. I believe it is a trait that although can be taught and learned, is often innate. I don’t understand why someone would not want to be kind, yet I see it and experience it every day. In October of 2016, our friends and neighbors lost their 3 ½ year old son to a horrific lawn mower accident. Within days of his death they started the JACK Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. His name was Jack and the acronym also stands for Just Acts of Caring and Kindness. They originally started it to keep his memory alive and provide him a legacy. It is, and was, a way to help them cope with such tragedy and I believe they find a measure of peace giving back to the community. My daughter and I made forget-me-not rocks for his funeral, after which I promised his mother I would never let him be forgotten. To date we have given out over 7,000 of these rocks. We have speared numerous fundraising campaigns for them as we are never without a Just Acts of Caring Kindness card and trinkets to pass along to others. Last year the JACK Foundation opened Jack’s Place, a dinosaur themed educational playground, and they plan on building them all around Rochester. (Jack loved dinosaurs and his favorite color was blue.)
It was simply amazing to witness how the community rallied together to support the Heiligman Family and the JACK Foundation. We live on a circle and instantly light bulbs outside doors were changed to blue light bulbs to show our support. The city of Rochester even dedicated an evening where the city was lit up blue in honor of Jack.
Do kind people motivate you to do kind deeds? Tell us about someone that inspires you to be a kinder person.
Absolutely, without a doubt, I truly believe kindness is infectious. People like my daughter motivate me to be kinder. People who take the time to really care and inspire, like her 5th grade teacher Mrs Mancini, motivate me to continue to do kind deeds and pay it forward. Mrs. Mancini was more than a teacher of academics, she was a teacher of life lessons including working as a community; meaning everyone works together. She gives every child she works with a true sense of self-worth.
Chris Barnes, our neighbor as well as a coach, teacher, and friend to my daughter, and true inspiration to all, passed away recently. He, like Mrs. Mancini, always went that extra mile. In Riley’s (my daughter) own words; “Yesterday I lost someone near and dear to my heart. I lost my neighbor, one of my favorite teachers and coach. Words cannot explain how much he has impacted mine and so many others lives. He fought till the very end. He has always put everyone before himself. I have never seen him without a smile in the halls, on the fields and in our circle. He put a smile on everyone’s face, and it won’t be the same at school without him. I will never forget all of the science classes I had with him, or the times in the neighborhood. I wish I could have said my last goodbye in person, and I wish I could have said all of this to him in person. I know that even though he’s not here physically, he’s looking down on all of us and reading these messages. He has taught me so much about lacrosse and the real world. I have seen the impact he has put in others. He makes the room so much brighter by just walking in to it. The lacrosse field, science room, and neighborhood will never be the same. I will never forget all the AMAZING memories I have had with Mr. Barnes. Since he has done so much for me and the community it’s my turn to return the favor, and keep his legacy alive. Mr. Barnes will be forever missed, but never forgotten! #barndogstrong 😕😢💙💙 – Riley Welch”
Does being kind resonate with you? Why not become a Kindness Ambassador and help us to spread the word about kindness and The Good Cards. Or if you just want to find out more about what we do and where we’re headed, or perhaps you’d like to join our volunteer staff, then please get in touch by emailing The Good Cards at firstname.lastname@example.org.