- Associated Press - Thursday, December 15, 2016

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) - What started as a few words of encouragement slipped into pockets has turned into a mass toy distribution from 10-year-old Bradley Ross Jackson.

Bradley was named one of 50 kindness ambassadors in the nation for Generation On, a grant program organized by the Hasbro toy company and Points of Light, a nationwide volunteer service organization.

In his application to the campaign, Bradley explained how he spreads kindness by hiding pieces of paper with phrases like “I love you” and “You are cool” in the pockets of clothing he donates to charity for recipients to discover.

“Kindness is what everyone should use, instead of being bullies,” said Bradley, a fifth-grader at Calvary Christian Academy in Normal. “It’s important to follow the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

After receiving the title of kindness ambassador, Hasbro shipped 108 toys to Bradley’s door in Normal to be given to children in the Bloomington Housing Authority.

The mound of toys has something for all ages, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures, board games, footballs and Play Doh kits.

The toys will be distributed from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at the BHA main office at 104 E. Wood St. BHA residents must sign up at the office in advance.

On distribution day, each child will choose one toy and will receive a word of encouragement from Bradley. He asks that the recipients tell him how they plan to spread friendliness in the community.

According to Bradley, the only requirement to get a toy is to “promise to pass the kindness on to others.”

“I hope when they get a toy, the kids say, ‘Wow, this is great. I’ll be kind just like you are,’” he said.

If turnout exceeds the number of toys, Bradley plans to pull a few unused toys from his personal stash to add to the pile.

The grant from Hasbro also included a $50 Visa gift card which Bradley intends to spend on snacks to share with children at the distribution.

“When I realized how blessed I am, I automatically wanted to bless others,” said Bradley, calling himself a Secret Santa. “I’m honored to be a kindness ambassador and I’m committed to being kind at home, in school, in church and in the community.”

Bradley’s parents, Carla Campbell-Jackson and Kevin Jackson, have inspired their son to make a difference in the community since he was young.

Campbell-Jackson is state membership chair for the NAACP, founder of Mentoring And Providing Scholarships, and member of Jack and Jill and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

“Those activities have definitely encouraged Bradley to take on some similar passions for making a difference in the lives of others,” said Campbell-Jackson. “The fact that he is certainly carrying on the torch speaks volumes for what our family endeavors to do.”

Bradley has received trophies for reciting The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have Dream” speech and was a 2015 Points of Light recipient named by President Barack Obama.

“He gets it,” said his mom. “He’s fortunate and he recognizes that. His actions are real and meaningful and sincere.”

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Source: The (Bloomington) Pantagraph, https://bit.ly/2fTLXYP

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com

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