12/11/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 12/11/2023 16:52
Colleges and universities affiliated with the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) are joining forces to spread kindness throughout the conference and hopefully beyond this winter. The AMCC is participating in Jordyn's Kindness Banner Project, where member institutions pass around a banner that reads "Be the 'I' in Kind" and spread kindness throughout their campuses and communities. At the same time, they have it on their campus.
ALTOONA, Pa. - Colleges and universities affiliated with the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) are joining forces to spread kindness throughout the conference and hopefully beyond this winter. The AMCC is participating in Jordyn's Kindness Banner Project, where member institutions pass around a banner that reads "Be the 'I' in Kind" and spread kindness throughout their campuses and communities.
The idea for Penn State Altoona receiving one of the banners came from Head Athletic Trainer Jessica Welsh, who placed Penn State Altoona Athletics' name in an application database with a short description about why the college should be a recipient of one of 15 banners to promote kindness during national kindness day, which was Nov. 13.
"The reason I entered Penn State Altoona Athletics' name to be a recipient is that you never can have too much kindness," said Welsh. "Everyone is battling a battle you know nothing about. This is so true, especially heading into the holidays. I just thought it would be a simple way to connect people and do some good at the same time."
Jordyn's Kindness Banner Project started with the mission of spreading kindness and being kind to everyone: Four individuals inspired its foundation: Jackie (Jordyn's mom), Ben (Jordyn's dad), Jordyn, and Hudson (Jordyn's brother). Jordyn has autism and speech apraxia and has aged out of school services, according to her parents. Like many parents of children with disabilities, Ben and Jackie said they worried about what would happen when Jordyn aged out of school because the opportunities for adults with disabilities are limited.
In 2018, Jackie and Ben said they shifted their focus from what was not available to creating something for Jordyn. In June 2018, Jordyn's Summer Shirt Project was created in their basement. They designed a shirt with the simple but powerful words: "Be Kind to Everyone." Their goal was to sell 40 shirts to family and friends that summer to help teach Jordyn job skills.
Fast forward to today, and Jordyn now independently rolls shirts, adds wristbands, and signs and stamps "thank you" cards. "Be Kind to Everyone" tees have been sold in all 50 states, and Jordyn has been featured on CBS News, 11 Alive, Fox 5 Atlanta, Newsbreak, 94.9 The Bull, Forsyth County News, VoyageATL, Love What Matters, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. What started as a summer project has become a thriving family business; in January 2022, they moved their shirt shop into a 5,500-square-foot warehouse in Cumming, Georgia.
Jordyn's family is committed to promoting and spreading kindness in conjunction with the business. They decided to ship 15 banners to different organizations interested in promoting kindness. All 15 banners received a home before National Kindness Day and were featured on the website. Throughout the year, the family shares updates about how far Jordyn's Kindness Banners have traveled and how schools/businesses have used them to spread kindness within their communities.
Welsh received one of the banners on Nov. 13, and she and Sue Patterson, director of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, started planning their events on campus. They provided free cookies and hot chocolate one night and hosted Taco Tuesday to help bring the students together. Welsh placed the banner in the athletics building, and staff and students were encouraged to do acts of kindness all week, take their photos with the banner, and post them to social media with hashtags #WEAREKIND and #BEKINDTOEVERYONE.
Through the project, Welsh and Patterson have promoted and encouraged simple acts of kindness: Holding the door for someone, complimenting someone, calling a friend or family member you haven't spoken to in a while, calling or visiting a grandparent, buying someone a coffee, etc. They have also distributed stickers and shoelaces around campus to help promote kindness campus-wide. Welsh also has spoken to student-athletes and teams about being kind while playing their sports - they can be competitive and still be kind or show sportsmanship.
Now, Penn State Altoona has passed the banner onto AMCC neighbor, Mount Aloysius College. Mountie Athletic Director Kevin Kime and Assistant Athletics Director and Head Women's Volleyball Coach Brianna Baker said they are excited about being the subsequent recipients of the banner and eager to get their student-athletes involved in such a noble cause.