As Provo residents look back on 2020, most will agree it has been a rough year.

Now Provo School District, Provo Kindness and Provo City are hoping a little community gratitude will help take the city into a new year with renewed enthusiasm and gratitude.

“In a year filled with political arguments, health concerns and community unrest, we are all feeling worn down by the negativity,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “We wanted an easy way for everyone to end 2020 on a note of positivity. We can all definitely use it.”

Along with gratitude, Kaufusi is hoping small acts of kindness will be a part of bringing unity to Provo. Creative Christmas trees are playing a part in that effort.

“CommUNITY Gratitude Trees encourages all to celebrate the season by honoring their personal hero, whether that is a parent, a sibling, a teacher, a coworker, a frontline worker or even stranger who gave an unexpected gift of kindness,” said Nicole Martin, Provo City public information officer. “Who made 2020 more bearable? Let’s give them a shoutout.”

Residents can use their creative instincts to help dress the CommUNITY Christmas trees for the holidays. Residents can participate either in person or online.

Steps to participate include:

  • The ornament coloring template can be found on the social media accounts of Provo City, Provo Police, Provo City School District and Provo Kindness.
  • Color the ornaments.
  • Write a message to your hero on the back.
  • Personally hang your ornament on one of three CommUNITY Gratitude Trees located at Provo City Hall in 311 Customer Service, Provo Police or at Peaks Ice Arena.

“Those not wanting to hang their ornament, can post on their social media or ours with the hope being that we can brighten up online with a colorful wave of gratitude,” according to Martin.

Provo City School District also will be providing this resource to parents through email if they would like an activity to do together as kids return home for the holidays.

“The disruption in routine is especially challenging for kids,” said Caleb Price, Provo City School District public information officer. “This is a fun activity parents and kids can do together to brighten up the COVID challenges with Christmas gratitude.”

Continually building on the culture of kindness in Provo is exactly why the Provo Kindness Initiative was established in September.

Jennifer Partridge, a parent, Provo City School District board member and one of the founding Provo Kindness Committee members, said, “One facet of the Provo Kindness mission is to build connection among people within our community.”

This activity does exactly that as adults and youth alike remember the kindness they’ve received this past year and make a small effort to honor the person(s) who made their world a little better, according to Martin.

As residents focus on the good, it is hoped it will create more kindness and goodness in the process.

Programs like Provo Kindness and the Gratitude projects are expected to be continued into the future.

Provo leaders are looking forward to more fun family and community activities during the first annual Provo Kindness Week on February 15-19.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

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