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Apr 10, 2012 10:19 AM

UA program using charm bracelets to spread kindness

TUCSON- A simple bracelet is now at the center of a campaign to spread kindness across the University of Arizona and the entire Tucson community.

The program is called "Be Kind, Step Up!" And it's a collaboration between the UA and Ben's Bells. "It's a reminder to be kind and look out for one another," UA Senior Karen Johnston says.

Johnston works at the UA Health Center, which helped launch the program. She helps give away the "Be Kind, Step Up!" bracelets. The motto is get a bracelet, see an act of kindness, pass it on."

It doesn't have to be an extraordinary act, it can be the little things that you can contribute to the larger community," UA Violence Prevention Specialist Erin Strange says.

One of Johnston's favorite moments came when she was having trouble with her bike." A student stopped and got off her bike and asked if I needed help," Johnston says.

Johnston gave that student a bracelet, hoping it would get passed on. Any person who receives one can tell their story of kindness on the website www.stepupprogram.org

"I absolutely fell in love with the program!" UA Junior Rachel Dyckman says.

Dyckman is the current Miss Arizona and plans to use the program as her platform when she competes this year in Miss USA. "It's just a constant reminder seeing it on there, to have courage and to step up and pay it forward to someone else," Dyckman says.

So far the UA Health Center has given away about 5,000 bracelets. Organizers hope it's just the beginning.

If you would like a bracelet, you can stop by the UA Health Center at 1224 Lowell Street, or you can purchase one for $10 from Ben's Bells at www.bensbells.org/KindnessProgram/

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