A. Day of Kindness on April 13 combines activities with promoting acts of kindness

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

The color orange has come to represent acts of kindness during an annual event that’s about having fun, going on a run, and handing out hundreds of Kindness Cards.

The ninth annual A. Day of Kindness on April 13 will feature a 5K run, a Kindness Village of vendor booths and a Reflection Walk, among other activities, with the cards, event shirts and hundreds of balloons along Mountain Avenue in orange.

Courtesy photo – Painted rocks were ready for distribution during the March 2018 A. Day of Kindness.

“Alex’s favorite color was orange, so everything is in orange,” said Suzanne Doles, co-event director of A. Day of Kindness and president of Let’s PLANet Giving, which helps organize the event with the New Freedom Outreach Center and a team of volunteers.

Doles referred to Alex Sabados, the inspiration for the event that originally was called the Alex Sabados Day of Kindness. The town of Berthoud proclaimed March 24 as the official Alex Sabados Day in recognition of the day Alex lost his life to brain cancer at age 14 in 2010 a month after his birthday. The proclamation was made that year.

Alex’s parents, Berthoud area couple David and Julia Sabados, started the Alex Sabados Day of Kindness in Alex’s memory, choosing the theme of kindness he had for others. They changed the name last year to A. Day of Kindness to expand recognition to those in Berthoud who die at a young age from the disease, including Angelo Dabbiero, age 14, and Zach Dunkelberger, age 16.

“We do this event to honor these three boys and everyone we lost too soon in the community,” Doles said. “The Alex Sabados Day of Kindness grew so much that we opened it up to the whole community.”

The main goal of A. Day of Kindness is to deliver kindness, not money, to the community, although community donations and proceeds will be donated to the oncology department at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Doles said.

Last year the event generated $4,000 from donations and proceeds from the 5K run, vendor food sale, and the annual Berthoud High School fashion show and silent auction.

“We are trying to teach children and adults to pay-it-forward with acts of kindness,” Doles said, adding the event is free and there is not a charge for the booths. “Kindness comes from the heart, not money.”

Orange-colored Kindness Cards and gold pediatric cancer-awareness ribbons will be distributed to Berthoud schools and during the event. Volunteers will make and hand out 2,500 ribbons and cards, stating, “Share you kindness with the world! Do an act of kindness and pass this card to others,” as a way to spread that kindness.

“They get a card to encourage them to act kindly and pass it on,” Doles said.

There also will be kindness rocks, painted with positive messages and images, that will be placed around trees, in gardens, on buildings, and in other “random places to get people involved,” Doles said. Last year, 200 rocks were distributed.

For the actual A. Day of Kindness event, there will be several activities at the Kindness Village at 1201 Lake Ave., the lot for Adam’s Bank & Trust. Last year 1,600 people attended the event.

The activities will start with hot-air balloons at 7:30 a.m., weather permitting.

The sixth annual Kindness 5K Run, which has a new name this year, will be at 10:30 a.m., starting and ending at the lot and navigating along the streets of the Gateway and Matthews Farm neighborhoods. New this year is chip timing on a U.S. Track and Field-certified course and a partnership with the Bob Turner Classic and the Fall Family Fun Run/ Walk. Register at https://runsignup.com/Race/CO/Berthoud/Kindness5K.

At 11 a.m. there will be the Reflection Walk with music, luminaries and an opportunity for friends and family members to leave handwritten notes to those who lost their lives to cancer. The vendor booths will open at the same time with approximately 40 vendors offering crafts, games and giveaways. The Rev. Laurie Chisholm, pastor at New Freedom Outreach Center, will give the blessing.

Next will be an Easter egg hunt at 11:45 a.m., sponsored by the New Freedom Outreach Center with approximately 50,000 Easter eggs and stuffed animals spread out on the lawn for children to gather.

Other activities will include St. Baldrick’s Foundation Headshave for Cures at noon, drumming with the Wildfire Community Arts Center at 1:30 p.m. and a commencement ceremony with comments from the mayor, a volunteer thank you and photos at 2 p.m. There also will be a petting zoo, inflatables, a magician and face painters, plus door prizes and live music by local band Pennies on the Track.

Attendees can donate in several ways beyond attending the 5K by donating toys for Children’s Hospital Colorado during the event. They also can give to the Kindness Cans food collections for the House of Neighborly Service and pop tabs collections for the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Denver, which will be collected at the Berthoud Community Library District. The cans also will be collected at Ivy Stockwell and Berthoud Elementary schools.

“It’s basically a community gathering to open it up to everyone to come together to support each other, to meet new people, and share the signs of childhood cancer awareness before it’s too late,” Doles said. “And it’s to spread kindness throughout town.”

For more information about the event, visit www.letsplanetgiving.org or call 970-203-5884.