Our Community Heroes “Rouse the Spirit” benefit on Tuesday, Feb. 7, was a rousing success!

One hundred fifty adults and kids came together at the Tamalpais Valley Community Center in Mill Valley, Calif., to be lifted and shifted by the power of kindness, compassion and action.

The evening began with the crowd captivated by the inspirational Bay Area premiere of Love at Second Sight, an award-winning educational film that transforms attitudes about differences, belonging, judgment and inclusion. Check out the trailer of their wonderful film, a must-see for all students!

Executive Producers Marlena Blavin and David Roche thanked the film production team and Mill Valley Middle School students, who were featured in the film and at the event.

Marlena Blavin and David Roche

Abundant “THANK YOUS!” to our wonderful hosts David and Marlena for their generosity in sharing their film premiere as a benefit for our organization. I look forward to growing our partnership with “Love at Second Sight” to spread our shared vision of a kinder, more compassionate and service-oriented world.

The audience then heard testimonials from our Community Heroes family about what the program has meant to them. After describing how they love performing random acts of kindness for teachers and seniors and how the Buddy Bench has impacted school culture, students from Sun Valley School in San Rafael cheered, “It’s cool to be kind!”

A second grader from Mary Silveira Elementary in San Rafael outlined her favorite projects: collecting shoes for the nonprofit group Mission Atletica, adopting families for the holidays and hiding bookmarks with positive messages in the school library, and ended by saying, “I love Community Heroes.”

Community Heroes participants, past and present, shared about the program’s impact.

Finally, middle school students who were part of Community Heroes when it first launched when they were in third grade outlined their year-long project to create a mural to promote art and unity in their school. “Without the experience of Community Heroes, we wouldn’t have been able to do this project,” they said. No greater testimonial than THAT!

Through our middle school after-school program, two Community Heroes students built upon their previous experience participating in elementary school, creating and implementing a service project of their own choosing. The product: this mural at Davidson Middle School.

With his usual flair, our special guest, the lion-hearted Michael Pritchard, shared many pearls of wisdom about the importance of teaching compassion to our children, who are our wisest teachers.

“We want our kids to see with their hearts. The minute you teach a child compassion,” Pritchard said, “you’re blessing our future. We want that great future here in our community. They’ll come back and be the greatest blessing.”

Marlena Blavin, David Roche, Michael Pritchard, Kala Shah and Toan Lam.

Shifting to what we envision for Community Heroes, I shared our plans to scale our efforts, including:

  • Building out an interactive communications platform to share inspiring stories and impact, starring our Community Hero kids
  • Building upon our “Sowing the Seeds of Compassion” impact study by Suzanne Lettrick, a Harvard-educated researcher
  • Building an engaging and flexible curriculum with videos, training modules and tools for facilitators to adopt at schools and community organizations
  • Building a sustainable organization and expanding our partnerships with educational, service and corporate partners

To reach our goals, we need your help! There are many ways you can pitch in:

  • VOLUNTEER to start a club, participate in events, join our board of directors or advisory board
  • CONNECT with corporate sponsors or foundations with aligned missions to become a SPONSOR
  • DONATE to help support our work to groom the next generation of compassionate community heroes

Many thanks also to our generous event sponsors who provided wonderful prizes for our raffle and helped kick-start our fundraising campaign. We’re just getting started to build our movement and promote a culture where it’s cool to be kind and fun to serve others. Please JOIN US and support us, however you can!

I hope these pictures convey the enormous sense of kindness, love and compassion that filled the room. It was pure MAGIC.

“I’m so glad I came tonight,” said one fifth-grade boy who had earlier thought he’d rather stay at home to play.

“I feel so light and happy. That was FUN!” remarked a fourth grader to her mom as she left our event.

It’s exactly these tingly, exhilarating emotions we hope to propagate much more of in this world, together. Our future is BRIGHT, I assure you.

In kindness and solidarity,

News coverage of Community Heroes.

Suzanne Lettrick (center), a Harvard-educated researcher, conducted a research study on kids and compassion that focused on the Community Heroes program.