BOISE, Idaho — "Boise Kind," a community-wide initiative to promote and protect Boise's values of civility, kindness and neighborliness, was formally launched Thursday at an annual event that incorporates all three of those elements.
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who proposed the initiative during his 2018 State of the City Address, took to the Main Stage at Treefort Music Fest to kick off the initiative. It was followed by an official launch party at Woodland Empire Ale Craft.
The program will highlight, protect and promote core community values that are at the heart and soul of what makes Boise a kind, welcoming city.
Bieter on Thursday called on all Boiseans to “seize every moment to be caring and generous.”
“Many things have made Boise one of the most successful cities in the country,” he said. “But the most important element that makes Boise so great is how its residents treat others – their families, friends, neighbors and strangers. Boise Kind will help define those intangible things that make being a Boisean special so that we can protect and enhance those qualities.”
Several elements are being incorporated into "Boise Kind" to help make the City of Trees a hub of, in Bieter's words, "kindness, civility and respect."
First off - at Treefort and throughout the community - Bieter called on the community to participate in a Kindness Count. It aims to document millions of acts of kindness by encouraging people to capture and share them online and by using the #BoiseKind hashtag.
This summer will see the launch of Boise Kind Day, an annual day of service and volunteering hosted by the city and initiative partners. More details about that event are expected in the coming weeks.
There will also be a partnership with the Boise School District in the fall to encourage and document acts of kindness among students.
“We cannot take Boise’s unique culture of kindness for granted or assume it will be absorbed by either the latest arrivals or the next generation,” Dr. Don Coberly, superintendent of Boise Schools, said. “We must teach it, we must model it and we must live it. We’re excited to participate in Boise Kind and share the success of the dozens of kindness, character education and citizenship programs currently taking place in our neighborhood schools.”
Other goals include raising money for charitable causes and facilitating grassroots, resident-led acts that foster kindness.
Bieter pointed to Treefort's "authentic Boise" character and inclusiveness in making at a perfect partner to help "Boise Kind" further its goals.
“We want this to be the start of something that will be part of Boise’s consciousness for years to come,” he said. “Make this initiative your own. Make it as authentic to our city as Treefort.”
“Every year, we hear from festival-goers how they were welcomed to Treefort Music Fest and Boise with kindness and compassion,” Lori Shandro, festival co-founder and producer, said in a news release. “Our community is full of people that consistently treat all people with love and respect, and that culture is part of why so many people return to Treefort year after year.
"We’re happy to come together with so many great people and organizations to encourage the kindness that already exists in our neighborhoods, communities and entire city.”
Emma Miller is an example of that initiative. The 10-year-old is spending her spring break going door-to-door, selling baked goods in hopes of raising donations to buy items like toothbrushes and socks for those in need.
"Seeing people on the streets made me really sad so I felt like I should do something about it," Miller said. "It makes me feel like a better person."
Members of Boise's faith community have also joined the effort, and the city calls their involvement "a central element" of the initiative. Officials said Rabbi Dan Fink of the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel was one of the first Boiseans to approach Bieter about getting involved in "Boise Kind" after the mayor's State of the City Address.
“Kindness is, indeed, the truest measure of a community,” Rabbi Fink said. “The Torah begins with an act of kindness as God clothes Adam and Eve, and ends with another, as God buries Moses. From birth to death, we are called to kindness. Let’s take this seriously and make kindness the defining feature of our city.”
“Boise’s reaction to Boise Kind has been phenomenal,” Bieter said. “It’s intuitive to us, so let’s make it even more of who we are and how we look at the world.”