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The Actively-Caring Movement:

February 9, 2011
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For almost two decades, I have been distributing green wristbands stamped with the message: “Actively Caring for People.” I give them to students in my university classes and to participants at my workshops and keynote addresses, as well as individuals who are especially nice to me or to someone else. The actively-caring message implies that just caring about the welfare of others in not enough, we need to act on that caring by spreading intentional acts of kindness. Simple behaviors, like holding open a door for someone, reminding a coworker to perform a certain safe behavior, or merely saying “thank you,” “please,” or “you’re welcome” at appropriate times reflect “actively caring.”

Recently, my students at Virginia Tech have taken my desire to spread actively caring (AC) to another level. They have developed a website, www.ac4p.org , where people can share their AC stories and pass on the wristbands to others who AC. Now each wristband is embossed with an ID number and participants can log in a wristband number, tracking it worldwide with the associated AC behaviors recognized in the story. Thus, after receiving an AC wristband, people look for opportunities to pass it on to others for their AC behaviors.

The AC website describes how this AC movement has been implemented in several elementary schools to effectively reduce interpersonal bullying. The focus is on recognizing the AC behaviors of school children rather than punishing bullying behaviors. My students travel throughout the U.S. to show elementary-school principals and teachers how to implement this proactive and positive approach to preventing bullying in their schools.

Log on to www.ac4p.org to see how you can join this movement and help us establish a more compassionate, belonging, and empathic culture within the schools, organizations, and communities we share.
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