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November 21, 2012

Students join global effort

By Cathy Koplen
Cooperstown Crier

---- — As part of a global effort to bring awareness to human kindness, Milford Central School joined students from around the world in a flashmob dance.

The call to dance was given by Life Vest Inside founder Orly Wahba, who orchestrated a kindness dance performed Sunday in many locations in several different countries.

“It was awesome,” said 13-year-old Lia Solensten, who participated in the dance.

“I think of all the kids in all the countries getting together,” Lia said. “It is really cool because people in different parts of the world are doing it, too. It is really cool that someone’s idea could go this far.”

For some, being proactive in kindness is a gift to loved ones.

“My daughter was bullied – so badly she almost killed herself,” said Karen Paffenroth, who was part of the group of adult supporters. “Instead of them saying bullying is bad, which they say, too, we are using a positive approach. That is what kindness is all about.”

The students gathered just before noon Sunday to perform the Dance for Kindness at Southside Mall in front of Kay Jewelers. Onlookers pressed against walls and jammed into store-fronts to watch.

The event began with students freezing into positions of kindness. Some were showing kindness by offering a hand or tying a shoe or embracing.

The students held their pose for the duration of the song, “We Are One.” And then, as a musical mash began, Milford seniors Jaclyn Courter and Delaney Barry led the group in a choreographed danced performed by students all over the world.

“We started a kindness revolution to bring awareness and participation in acts of kindness, and to show how powerful kindness can be,” event coordinator Delores Lawton said.

According to the Life Vest Inside website, the purpose of the worldwide flashmob is to “promote kindness, positive human interaction and to help increase people’s awareness and sensitivity to others.”

In addition, cards were distributed to those watching.

The cards suggested small acts of kindness that may be easily performed.

“We distributed 25 different cards,” Lawton said. “I should have brought more. We gave them all out. They said things like, ‘call a sick person,’ ‘help a sibling with homework,’ ‘give up your seat on the bus to someone who needs it,’ ‘invite someone to dinner you don’t usually interact with,’ ‘be nice to yourself’ — that sort of thing.”

The Milford flashmob was recorded, and Lawton said they will submit the dance to Life Vest Inside as part of the worldwide montage.

“I have already seen Croatia’s dance,” Lawton said. “I can’t wait to upload ours.”