The holidays are my favorite time of the year. It’s wonderful to see all the city streets aglow with the holiday lights, and feeling the positive energy that exists throughout our beautiful city. There is such anticipation in children with the hope that St. Nick soon will be here.

This is the time of the year where kindness and generosity exists while spreading of the Christmas spirit. The YMCA nationally is partnering with the Today Show with a #ShareKindness Campaign. It is an opportunity to celebrate all that is good and provide hope for those who in need.

On Dec. 2, the Naperville YMCA is set to host the Mayor’s Community Breakfast. This is a beautiful start to the holidays and a celebration of community, and the great community spirit that exists. So how do we carry this spirit well into the New Year and continue to provide hope and joy to others? Families, seniors and children need us each and every day. Through the YMCA our goal is to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.

Kindness starts with one. Sharing Kindness beyond the holidays is through the simplest and smallest acts of love and kindness and creates true compassion and empathy. It is important for us to be the change we would like to see in the world. Through the YMCA Safe ‘n Sound program, I’m proud when a group of children support others through service learning opportunities. The children have spread joy through writing special notes of thanks to school staff, raise money for a local pet shelter, and have done a food drive during the to help replenish the shelves at a food pantry. The power of kindness can create lasting community spirit.

Getting caught up in spreading kindness can be contagious and helps to continue the true spirit of the season. It is the most wonderful time of the year, and at the YMCA we look forward to continuing that throughout the whole year. I personally want to wish you a magical holiday and a very healthy New Year.