News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 8, 2014

SPPRAK starts kindness campaign

Community members record what kindness means to them

TERRE HAUTE — “What does kindness look like to you?”

This was the question answered by some community members — on video — Saturday at the Ohio Building in downtown Terre Haute.

Some people answered it with words, others by singing, and one person, Pastor Aaron Wheaton, used an instrument to describe his idea of what kindness looks like.

With his arms wrapped around an accordion, while sporting the signature green SPPRAK glasses, Wheaton, a pastor at Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, faced the camera as he explained what kindness is — in a lighthearted way.

“A lot of people make fun of the accordion, but it’s a delightful instrument. Kindness is listening to the accordion without cracking a joke,” Wheaton said in one of the several takes.

“So let’s get SPPRAKIN,” he said with a big smile, followed by a few tunes from the accordion.

Wheaton and other community members responded to the invitation by non-profit organization SPPRAK (Special People Performing Random Acts of Kindness) to walk in and say on camera, in 30 seconds or less, what kindness looks like. The filming was part of a month-long initiative, “Unleashing a Community of Kindness.”

“Everybody has an idea of what kindness looks like,” said Susan Short, SPPRAK co-founder, and it was an opportunity for people to share their personal idea of kindness.

About 20 videos were recorded by people from all walks of life Saturday. The videos will be posted on SPPRAK’s website, Facebook and YouTube all February long, according to SPPRAK founders Short, Kim Grubb and Robin Heng.

Videos (as opposed to other formats) “sometimes speak a little louder” because viewers can see the person on camera’s non-verbal cues, said Grubb. Through the initiative, people were given the opportunity to express what kindness is in various, creative ways.

One woman, the founders said, sang earlier in the day.

And one police officer brought a furry companion.

Ryan Adamson, K-9 handler with the Terre Haute Police Department, stood in front of the camera with K-9 partner Officer Carón.

“As a K-9 handler, we deal with animals a lot and we deal with animals a lot as police officers,” Adamson said. “Kindness to me is not just about people. It’s about animals also.”

He urged people to “think about your animals” whatever the season. Think about their needs, such as food, he said. “Animals are important. All they want to do is please and be loved.”

“Be kind to each other and be kind to your animals, he said. “Treat them right and they will love you ‘till the day they die.”

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or

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