By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Heroes can be found in the most unlikely places.
Westborough Connects recently sponsored a Kindness week, featuring many different activities and events designed to spark kindness throughout the community. The week concluded with the showing of the film “Wonder.” In the blockbuster film, the young protagonist endures bullying for a facial deformity; the film sheds light on the lasting impact that words can have.
This film had a special connection to Kelly Burneson, local photographer.
Last summer, she held a contest for rising juniors for the cover shoot of a photography magazine she created; the contestants wore “Choose Kind” t-shirts promoted in connection with “Wonder,” and wrote about what they thought it meant to be kind.
“The film ‘Wonder’ shared a wonderful message about bullying,” Burneson said. “I think that kids don’t even know when they’re being mean. We live in a society where there isn’t a lot of kindness; there is a lot of name-calling in the media and in our role models, but that isn’t what we want our children to do.”
Focusing in on the positive things happening in town, Burneson was thrilled with the entries in the “Choose Kind” t-shirt competition. Seniors Jake Hughes and Bethany Woodcock won the coveted cover spots, and were featured in her magazine. The two are wonderful examples of what it means to be a leader in community, Burneson said. Sports captains and strong students, they lead the way for many students at Westborough High School, helping them to choose kindness and to make strong decisions.
Burneson’s work helped to draw attention to the important roles that peers play in spreading kindness in school.
“[Kindness Week] has brought some attention to promoting kindness, and I want people to know that there is so much happening every day,” added Burneson. “It is great that the whole town is doing kindness week; it is so important in today’s society to choose to be kind. Everyone lives with some sort of struggle – that we may or may not see.”
These efforts highlight the small things that local residents do each day to promote kindness and being thoughtful in our community. Each day, the words that people choose can make a difference in the lives of others.
Photos/Kelly Burneson Photography