The Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley (HSSBV) Humane Education is an animal hospital and clinic that focuses on spay, neuter, and vaccinations. As part of The Great Kindness Challenge, HSSBV is networked with 18 teachers at five elementary schools and the non-profit, Stars of HOPE® – a program of the New York Says Thank You Foundation

We have asked Lynn Hildebrand from HSSBV to share what kindness means to her and the humane society. Please read her responses below! And enjoy some included photos as well!

Lynne, what does kindness mean to you?
Kindness is: being a caring mom, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt; recognizing the value of family; giving thanks to the people who keep us safe and protect us; listening attentively; giving for the pure joy of giving; responding in a positive, helpful manner; picking up trash; recycling – because it is good for our planet and helps keep animals from being caught in plastic loops, plastic bags, metal cans, or fishing nets; choosing wisely and appropriately which words to use; sharing accurate and correct information; engaging in beneficial actions; being stopped for a red light in a line of traffic and letting a car go in front of you that is trying to exit onto the street; praying for the welfare, safety, and health of others; being a vegan; not gossiping; singing in harmony with someone else; writing thank-you notes; acknowledging kindness in others; protecting children, the elderly, and animals from fear, trauma, pain, and suffering; making certain Senior Citizens, children, and animals have plenty to eat and drink and have shelter from the wind, rain, cold, and sun; helping the elderly, children, and animals if they are sick, injured, and need medical care; living outside yourself; promoting peace.

What inspired you to do the work you do?
I’m inspired by the words of Zoe Weil, President of the Institute for Humane Education: “Humane Education inspires the next generation to live with compassion and respect, to restore our damaged earth, and to bring peace to our troubled world. The Seeds we sow in humane education are the seeds of peace, kindness, sustainability, respect and compassion, and from them a more humane world will spring.” And I’m inspired by the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Describe a moment kindness made an impact in your life.
Soon after the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, CA (December 2, 2015), a memorial of flowers, stuffed animals, candles, and cards began to appear.  Sometimes I would drive by after work and sit in my car by the side of the road, trying to understand how anyone could have so much hate consuming their heart and mind as to kill innocent people – people he knew; people who had given he and his wife a baby shower for their child.  I tried to understand how someone could leave their six-month-old daughter without parents, to grow up in a world living with the thought that her mother and father were responsible for a terrorist attack that killed and forever would change people’s lives.  And how she would grow up to possibly be condemned, belittled and ridiculed for something for which she had totally no control over. Sometimes I would drive over on the weekend with my little dog. Sometimes I just sat in my car and wept as my little dog put her head on my lap. Sometimes, if only a few people were there (so we would not bother anyone), my dog and I would walk around, standing quietly, absorbing the feelings of the surroundings.

But one day something different caught my eye.  Wooden stars. On the chain link fence; blowing gently in the breeze from the trees. The stars were brilliantly decorated by children with words of “hope, we care, you are not alone, have faith……” As I read the stars, I wondered where they came from – and on the back was the answer. Many places, including Canada and New York.  But again, I wondered, how did children learn about the terrorist attacks in Canada and New York – and why would they care. And then there was another answer.  Stars of HOPE New York says thank you.

Thank you, Lynne and the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley – you have and are making a difference in your community and beyond.

To learn more about the Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley (HSSBV) and their mission, please visit their website. And, to continue the kindness, please join The Great Kindness Challenge – Family Edition to engage your household in intentional kind acts, including donating items to a local animal shelter!