TERRE HAUTE —
Six-year-old Sunny Santharam knows what kindness is.
When his father Ram asked him the definition, Sunny quickly responded, “Be nice to everyone!”
With some spelling help from his father, Sunny carefully printed his answer onto a blue sticky note and added it to the multitude of definitions posted on a banner inside the Terre Haute Children’s Museum.
There was no wrong answer to the question “What does kindness mean to you?”
Monday was recognized as National Random Acts of Kindness Day, and the organizers of SPPRAK — Special People Performing Random Acts of Kindness — set up Compliment Corners around the city where volunteers shared positive energy with the public as a way of promoting kindness in the community.
At The Meadows shopping center on the city’s east side, volunteers were posted at both ends of the retail venue to make contact with as many people as possible.
“When you smiled at me, I thought, ‘How kind is that?’” said a Meadows shopper as she walked by, accepting a SPPRAK kindness card from Sherri Kelley and her college-age daughter Elisabeth Kelley.
That kind of positive response — as well as making people actively think about kindness — kept occurring throughout the day to the “kindness patrol.”
“People have been very receptive,” Sherri said. “A quarter have complimented us back. And one lady told us she’d try to be nicer today.”
As a nurse, Sherri said she knows the benefits that a smile or a nice word can have to someone who might be having a down day or facing a problem. That’s one reason she was eager to volunteer to encourage kindness. Another reason was that she was able to share a couple of hours with her daughter Elisabeth in a positive activity.
“Especially with the weather right now,” Sherri said looking outside at the dreary winter drizzle, “just wishing someone to have a nice day today — I notice their expression is kind of flat, but when you wish them a nice day, their face lights up.”
Many people, interestingly, do not know how to take a compliment.
Robin Heng, a SPPRAK co-founder, said she was at Baesler’s Market during the morning hours, and the people she greeted tried donate money to SPPRAK.
“I told them that today, I’m only giving,” Heng laughed.
A compliment was even tried on one older curmudgeon who could only respond with negative things about the city.
“I just let him talk,” Heng said of that brief encounter. “At one time, I was down on Terre Haute, too, until I decided to do something about it.”
Most people are really receptive to the kindness concept, co-founder Susan Short agreed.
“People are paying attention to SPPRAK, and they’re talking about it,” Short said.
Admiring the signature bright green sunglasses of the SPPRAK pack was Sugar Grove Elementary student Hannah Smallwood, who was visiting the shopping center with her mother on the holiday off from school.
Hannah said she has seen the kindness banner at her school that was donated by SPPRAK.
“We started the program with ‘Post-it’ notes in the schools,” Short said, “and the kids love it.”
Heng said the success of the SPPRAK kindness initiative is being modeled in several communities. SPPRAK has grown to 14 states where people are promoting kindness and recognizing the kind acts of others.
Monday’s Compliment Corners initiative will become an annual event, she said. Compliment Corner locations on Monday included Java Haute, Ruby Tuesday, Chick-fil-A, Union Hospital, Terre Haute Regional Hospital, ISU Barnes and Noble and Open Door book store.
Today, all Terre Haute Savings Bank locations will be participating by passing out water bottles and compliment cards to customers.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.
SPPRAK-ers’ smiles, sticky notes spread message
TERRE HAUTE —
Six-year-old Sunny Santharam knows what kindness is.
- Local & Bistate
Purdue shooting leaves one person dead
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
UPDATE: Indictment alleges deputy committed violence against suspects
A Putnam County deputy, Terry Joe “T.J.” Smith, 37, has been arrested on a federal indictment charging him with committing violent acts against suspects.
THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs
Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.
Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.
We enter the deep freeze again
If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.
Levy redirects school funds
If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.
School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana
School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.
VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board
Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase
After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.
Feds arrest Putnam County deputy on charges of violence
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A sheriff’s deputy from a rural Indiana county has been indicted on federal civil rights charges.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 10, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, based on jail records.
Police: Meth organization dismantled in Vigo County
Five people face criminal charges after police dismantled an alleged methamphetamine organization in Vigo County, according to an Indiana State Police news release.
Food Inspections: March 10, 2014
The Vigo County Health Department inspected the following food establishments during the week of Feb. 24 - 28:
Canvasing families: Mothers confront life with diabetic children
Four Wabash Valley mothers who sat around a circular table Thursday night couldn’t hold back tears as they talked about their children’s battles with a lifelong disease and their hopes for helping other affected families.
MAX JONES: Newspapers can be fun, too; check out Readers’ Choice
Smart and savvy newspaper readers (that’s all of you, of course) know full well that their daily consumption of news and information isn’t an exclusively high-brow pursuit.
Changed wording to SJR-9 delays debate on right to hunt, fish
A much-debated ban on same-sex marriage wasn’t the only proposed constitutional amendment to get knocked off of this November’s ballot. Gone, too, is the less contentious proposal to protect Hoosiers’ right to hunt and fish.
You’re home now: A veteran’s Midwest move that almost wasn’t
To say that Michael Curry was stressed is an understatement.
A service member who has been in the U.S. Army for more than 21 years, he had just arrived in Vigo County with his family — wife, four teen-age children, mother-in-law and two dogs — when he learned the home loan he had obtained in Texas was denied.
Valley lawmakers assess legislative session’s trials, tribulations
As state legislators head into the final week of the state legislative session, five of them from the Wabash Valley met with citizens Saturday at the Vigo County Public Library in downtown Terre Haute and engaged in conversation about the “ups and downs” of the recent session.
Families often unaware of helpful groups for kids with disabilities
One Saturday morning event in Terre Haute aimed to raise awareness about the resources available to people with disabilities.
Spotting pot, gun in home nets 2 arrests.
Two adults were arrested and two children removed from a Vigo County home on Friday after drugs and a handgun with altered serial numbers were discovered in the home, authorities said.
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: Focus on poverty, inequality
The issues of poverty and inequality will be at the forefront of the 13th annual Terre Haute Human Rights Day on March 18 at Indiana State University.
VIDEO: Tasting their way to a cure
People appeared to be in high spirits Friday inside the historic Indiana Theatre as they gathered for an evening of wine, food and conversation while supporting efforts to find a cure for breast cancer.
Same-sex marriage: 4 couples sue state over ban
Four gay couples from southern Indiana sued the state Friday, seeking to force Indiana to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state and issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Time to check smoke alarms
Three years after a house fire on South Nine Street in Terre Haute resulted in the death of three people, a Terre Haute grandmother still wonders if the outcome of that fire would have been different if smoke detectors in the home had been working.
Indiana State Board extends president’s contract
Indiana State University has signed up Dan Bradley, the school’s president, for an additional three years of service.
New animal shelter gets welcome boost
The aging Terre Haute Humane Society shelter is not a place for the faint of heart.
4 couples sue Indiana over same-sex marriage ban
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Four couples from southern Indiana are asking a federal judge to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 7, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
Bill for welfare drug testing in negotiation
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two Indiana lawmakers trying to pass a bill requiring drug tests for some welfare recipients say they have passed voluntary drug tests.
Book signing March 7 in Crossroads Café to benefit Success By 6
The book “One Day I Could Be ... Careers in the Wabash Valley,” is on sale now and will be available at a book signing today, March 7, during a First Friday event in downtown Terre Haute.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead