LOCAL NEWS

Vineyard becomes Utah’s first certified ‘city of kindness’

Feb 10, 2024, 8:18 PM

First lady Abby Cox and One Kind Act a Day's Khosrow Semnani honored Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer w...

First lady Abby Cox and One Kind Act a Day's Khosrow Semnani honored Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer with the title of Certified City of Kindness in a ceremony on Jan. 29, for the city's initiatives in spreading kindness. (Vineyard)

(Vineyard)

VINEYARD — In a time fraught with political tension and negativity in much of the world around us, can one city play a part in promoting kindness in its residents?

The One Kind Act a Day initiative, launched in 2022 by Utah leaders and advocates, believes it can. And one Utah County city became the first in the state to receive recognition for a yearlong effort to get residents to spread kindness. Vineyard recently became an official “certified city of kindness.”

“Kindness is the catalyst for safe communities. It serves as the bedrock for leadership in a well-educated society. It is a formidable barrier against homelessness, and it nurtures the growth of small businesses in a community. It yields tangible health benefits, and it empowers people to live fulfilling lives,” Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer said.

In a ceremony on Jan. 29, first lady Abby Cox and philanthropist Khosrow Semnani honored Fullmer and the community for its efforts.

To become a certified city of kindness, Vineyard partnered with One Kind Act a Day — a nonprofit spearheaded by the Semnani Family Foundation and involving community leaders — and pledged to roll out kindness initiatives throughout the city. Although businesses, individuals and even some schools across the state have taken the same pledge, Vineyard is the first city to undertake the challenge of spreading kindness and to receive the certified title.

The mayor emphasized the importance of kindness and said it is a cornerstone of leadership and community building.

Some of the “kindness measures” the city has taken include the City Council passing a resolution encouraging everyone to perform one kind act a day; city employees taking the kindness pledge; community members placing placards and banners in city spaces promoting kindness; and the city hosting a “kindness week” in November. The city also created a youth kindness club and initiated a community committee on service and kindness.

“(Kindness) is a simple, free act that safeguards our personal freedoms and creates bonds of unity in our communities. Vineyard has long cherished the spirit of kindness. From the beginning of this community … there was a culture of kindness … that brought the community together and allowed it to grow and become what it is today,” the mayor said.

At the meeting, Orem, Spanish Fork and Utah County as a whole were challenged to follow in Vineyard’s footsteps and take on the challenge to receive the title of certified city of kindness.

“I accept this challenge, gratefully. Utah is proud to be No. 1 in economy, and we’re proud to be No. 1 in business development,” Utah County Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner said. “We’re No. 1 in time given to service, and we absolutely need to be No. 1 in kindness for our children.”

Cox said it is crucial to model kindness for future generations, and Vineyard has a tradition of kindness and community.

“Kindness is an actual power that we have to connect and to build things together,” she said. “The hardest thing is to be kind in the face of meanness — that is what Vineyard is doing. They are committed to this idea of building community.”

The One Kind Act a Day initiative aims to transform communities through small kind acts.

“This is an honor, and this is a privilege to have leaders in our community say, ‘I’m in,'” Semnani said.

One Kind Act a Day Executive Director Curtis Bennett congratulated Vineyard on becoming the first certified city of kindness and said he is grateful for the proactive efforts of Vineyard and excited to see the city build on its strengths.

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Vineyard becomes Utah’s first certified ‘city of kindness’