- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2000

PITTSBURGH When the Random Acts of Kindness Leadership Training Conference is held here next week, Denys Candy of Wilkinsburg, Pa., will share the kinds of ideas that make a difference.
Random acts of kindness are small gestures done simply for the sake of giving, without expecting anything in return: putting a dime in an expired parking meter; giving a bouquet to a stranger; writing a nice note to someone having a bad day.
The "Random Acts of Kindness" series by Conari Press comprises nine books, including one specifically about children's kindness, and one about kindness by animals. But it was the first book, published in 1993, that inspired Mr. Candy, a community organizer.
After reading the first "Kindness" book, during a time when Wilkinsburg was plagued with gang violence, he formed "kindness" gangs called R.A.o.K. Children picked their own colors and names, and agreed upon ground rules, then became involved in community-service projects throughout their neighborhood, such as planting flowers for a senior center.
This project was described in the book's sequel, "Kids' Random Acts of Kindness," published in 1995. The model was adopted by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.
From there, the seeds of Mr. Candy's ideas grew. "I got fascinated taking the concept of Random Acts of Kindness and using it as a community organizing tool. The idea was how could we make kindness less random and more group-oriented, instead of an individual concept," he said.
Mr. Candy, 48, has been a professional community organizer for more than 20 years. He is president of DMCandy Consulting Group in East Liberty, Pa., and is an adjunct professor of the community organization department at the University of Pittsburgh.
His programs are being saluted as a national model. "We're adopting it as our national model," said Random Acts of Kindness Foundation Executive Director Molly Stuart, in Denver, reachable at www.actsofkindness.org.

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