By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
WESTBOROUGH – Kindness Week is heading back to Westborough starting Nov. 13, just in time for World Kindness Day.
Kindness Week is hosted by Westborough Connects.
“People have said to us before, ‘Really? You need a week about kindness? Shouldn’t we be kind all the time?’” said Laura Cerniglia in a recent interview. “Obviously, we say, ‘Of course,’ and that we know that kindness exists in Westborough. It’s just taking a week to intentionally think about it and to intentionally do things about it.”
Kindness Week evolves through COVID-19
According to Executive Director Kelley Petralia, Kindness Week was born out of a brainstorming meeting shortly after the inception of Westborough Connects in 2018.
The goal of the week is to amplify kindness in the community.
“We know that kindness is something that people should always be practicing, but this is an opportunity for the community to rally around a simple and positive thing and just do it together,” Petralia said.
That first Kindness Week was held in person. Organizers were planning a second week of programming when the world shut down due to COVID-19, said Cerniglia.
Westborough Connects quickly shifted.
“We said, ‘We’re not giving up. We’re doing this. We need it. We still need it, even though we’ll be inside our houses,’” recalled Cerniglia.
An abbreviated Kindness Week went forward, as did another Kindness Week earlier this year.
As they started to plan for this latest event, this month, Cerniglia said the group wanted the community to feel like they could celebrate while also being respectful of others’ feelings.
Kindness Week moves to November
This is the first time Westborough Connects has held Kindness Week in November to coincide with World Kindness Day on Nov. 13.
The festivities, which are for all ages, kick off on World Kindness Day itself and run through Nov. 19.
Organizers are hosting an in-person event on Nov. 13 at Westborough High School, which will feature a keynote address by the children’s author Susan Verde.
There will be activities along with kindness stations at the high school after that address, such as a knitting group led by the Westborough Women’s Club.
Cerniglia said her address will be livestreamed through Westborough TV for people who are uncomfortable or unable to attend in-person events. Individuals can also pick up toolkits for activities.
Visit https://www.westboroughconnects.org/ for a full list of activities.
Westborough Connects has over 60 partners in kindness, which Meghan Gavalis said are groups, organizations and businesses in town that celebrate or partner with Westborough Connects on their events.
“We are grateful to several Partners in Kindness for their financial support: Westborough Public Schools, Westborough Public Library, Reliant Foundation, Central One Federal Credit Union, Realtor Stephanie Stuchlik, Right at Home, Pastoral Counseling Centers of MA and the Highlands Gracious Retirement Living,” Petralia wrote in an email to the Community Advocate.