The Villages, Florida is perhaps the largest and most active retirement community in the world. Acts of Kindness abound here as many retirees selflessly give of their time. We started this club in early 2019 to acknowledge these acts of kindness so as to promote an even more abundant culture of kindness. This is the first club of its kind. We believe we have some very creative ideas on how to acknowledge and promote kindness, and will be sharing them with you. In the long term we hope what we are doing will encourage many other communities to follow suit.
The goal of the Acknowledging Acts of Kindness Club is to recognize and reward those who have gone above and beyond in showing kindness to others. People who help others are the best role models, and recognizing their acts of kindness helps to promote this behavior in our community and beyond and promotes a ‘culture of kindness’.
Our members are dedicated to helping our cause. We have close to 90 members – and growing. Our only request is that members come to monthly meetings when they can, share ideas, and participate in some of our Acknowledging Acts of Kindness (AAOK’s) events. There is no cost and we guarantee that it will be a lot of fun!
Our hope is that we will provide a role model for others who would like to start an Acknowledging Acts of Kindness club in their own community. As we gain more experience in how to best promote a culture of kindness in our community we will be happy to share this with others who would like to follow suit.
Joe Santoro - Joe Santoro Founder of the club who's the main driver and sponsor of the club. Joe is also the founder of the Santoro Educational Lifeskills Foundation (S.E.LF.) which has been very active in providing social/emotional learning (SEL) for schools and institutions in Florida and beyond with their Alive2Thrive program.
Lindsay Collier - Co-founder & President. Formed board of directors, focus groups, and connected with the media to get the club some great exposure. Instrumental in designing the cards, certificates, shirts, etc. Former Captain in the US Army Corps of Engineers and Engineer with Eastam Kodak Co. As an Internat'l Speaker, took four tours across South Africa to help the country deal with change in the era of Nelson Mandela.
AAOK Club Board Members
Founder: Joe Santoro, Village of Bridgeport
President: Lindsay Collier, Village of Tall Trees
Vice President: John Maiorino, Village of Summerhill
Treasurer: Jen Smith, Village of Santo Domingo
Membership Chair: Carol Cholette, Village of Hemingway
Club Secretary: Margaret Wolfe, Village of Ashland
Website Advisor: Tweet Coleman, Village of Hillsborough
Business Flier Focus Group
This group will explore opportunities to have local businesses display our kindness card fliers. Aligning with local businesses has a tremendous potential for both them and us! Here is an example of our flier.
Candidate Selection and Events Coordination
The purpose of this group is to oversee the selection of candidates who have shown exceptional kindness for acknowledgment, and to plan these events. We hope to have at least one of these events each month.
Social Groups Focus
There are over 3000 clubs in the Villages. Within this grouping there are some who might be particularly interested in hearing about our club. The purpose of this focus group is to share our story with many of these groups and create synergetic relations with them.
Educational Focus Group
This group will communicate with schools in the tri-county area (Sumter, Lake, and Marion) to explore ways to use our ideas and processes to get students involved in kindness. In the future we may expand well beyond these boundaries. The future is with our children – just think of the effect this can have!