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I don’t have an official good deeds hotline. Not yet, anyway. But from time to time I do get sent tips on the theme of kindness. Someone will e-mail me about a particular news item, event or program that moves them, that they believe is worth sharing.

One of the most recent leads comes from a colleague in Langley, B.C., who sent this article about a community that pulled together to clean up a yard in their neighbourhood. The property, owned by four siblings with disabilities on fixed incomes, had fallen into disrepair. It took about 50 volunteers, $20,000 worth of donated products and services and 12 hours to beautify the space. This group effort managed to replace garbage, scrap metal, overgrown brambles and collapsing outdoor structures with a new lawn, landscaping and fencing. Kinda sounds like a barn raising – except it was a yard raising.

This type of project is powerful in a community because it creates permanent ties between people who live near each other. Going forward, they’ll be better connected and more likely to provide each other with other forms of help when needed. Given the hectic pace at which most of us are living our lives, a chance to mix with neighbours, especially in a situation where everyone’s pie-eyed with positivity, is priceless.

Another friend wrote to me about the Roots of Empathy program. This Canadian initiative brings infants into classrooms. No, it has nothing to do with creating baby geniuses. But evidence shows that as the schoolchildren watch the parent’s interaction with the baby, get to know the family and learn to interpret the baby’s needs, they are becoming more compassionate little people. And it lasts. Because we all know kids are capable of surprisingly profound tenderness.

Got a good deed tip? You can certainly post a comment below, or e-mail me. It’s always toll-free, and I’d love to hear from you.

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