There are so many great local examples of Okotokians being neighbourly, supporting and caring for one another in our community. Let's continue to contribute to the power of community and volunteerism by performing big and small acts of kindness because Okotoks is stronger together.
Okotoks Stronger Together
The third Friday of every month is Kindness Day, a chance to spread the kindness that makes Okotoks a great place. On Kindness Day, we will showcase Kindness Currency nominees and we have different options that make it easy to get involved in and sign up for any or all the Okotoks Stronger Together programs.
Celebrating Kindness Day July 16: Okotoks is Giving!
This Kindness Day, Friday, July 16, sign up to give someone a boost and Gift It Forward or register to be a Community Champion, and the Town will drop your free gift bags or fun-filled toolkit at your door! You can also nominate someone for Kindness Currency: get a sticker for your nominee and one to pass on because Okotoks is GIVING!
Recognize the inspiring acts of kindness happening in our community with Kindness Currency! When you nominate someone and share the stories of the people making Okotoks stronger and more resilient, your nominee will get a Kindness Currency sticker for themselves and one to pass on. Kindness Currency recipients and their stories will be shared with the community and have the chance to be featured in a monthly video.
Do you know someone who is helping to strengthen our community? We want to hear from you about all the amazing things happening in Okotoks. Share your stories about the remarkable ways people in Okotoks are supporting each other.
Nominate someone today to have their story shared, receive Kindness Currency stickers to keep and to pass on, and be entered into prize draws.
Nominate someone for Kindness Currency
Kindness currency was started as a way to share and recognize the many ways in which people are supporting and helping each other out.
It’s easy to spread Kindness Currency: be kind! Continue helping your neighbours and doing the things that keep Okotoks a strong, connected and vibrant place to live.
Each month this year, we’ll be selecting a new theme to highlight the amazing people in Okotoks and how they are supporting our community. Your stories help to foster positivity, share the good news stories and thank Okotokians for their acts of kindness.
Kindness Currency recipients
The kindergarteners at Percy Pegler Elementary School wanted to make a difference in the community and brighten people’s day, and their Take What You Need project was born after a student asked her parent how they could send a card to everyone in Town.
Inspired by the idea of spreading kindness through small gifts for the community, the class banded together to pay kindness forward after a difficult 18 months for everyone.
The students made art and drawings, picked flowers, created cards and wrote inspirational messages from the heart, and along with small toys, games and books, attached the small gifts to a fence where anyone who needed a boost could come by and take what they needed.
The messages encouraging people to be positive and remind them that they are brave had a great impact on the community, with many stopping by the fence to take a toy, book, card, and partake in the kindness. The students received incredibly positive feedback for their efforts from those who stopped by, and learned how much their kindness helped others.
The kindergarten students embraced the idea of supporting their community through small gestures of kindness and are proof that kindness knows no age limit, because Okotoks is GIVING!
Grade 11 student Chelsea Taylor is making sure Okotoks is connected! She was nominated for Kindness Currency for making an impact with her project to raise funds to purchase a van for the Okotoks Food Bank to make accessing the food banks’ services easier for the community.
To achieve her goal, Chelsea developed a way to connect others through the shared experience of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. She documented the experiences of people in Okotoks and the Foothills representing the past unconventional year, knowing these stories would make a difference and could be used to help the community.
The stories recognize what was similar with our lives in the past year and what was so different, and came together in Chelsea’s book, IMPACT: How COVID-19 changed people in Foothills, Alberta. All the proceeds from the book sales are going directly to the Okotoks Food Bank.
The idea for the book came about after searching for a volunteer opportunity at the start of 2021 and finding COVID-19 restrictions were posing a challenge. She decided to create her own opportunity to help connect her community with the help of her mom, and the idea of IMPACT was born!
“I hope that this little book of individual experiences helps us reflect on our own COVID-19 experiences. Mostly, I hope it inspires us to move forward in a kinder and more intentional way because we can all have an IMPACT,” Chelsea says.
Chelsea explains that she saw a need to make it easier for people in rural communities to access the food bank’s services. The Okotoks Food Bank is the main distribution hub for the entire Foothills community, and by purchasing a van for the organization, it was ensuring Foothills clients could access services in their own hamlet or town.
Head to covidfoothills.com to donate to Okotoks Food Bank and receive your copy of IMPACT!
Stephanie Rees was nominated for Kindness Currency for her DINO-mite way of connecting her community: Jurassic Okotoks! With the help of her family and others, Stephanie created a roar with her idea to for an event that would let everyone enjoy the fresh air as they search for dinosaurs in the wild Okotoks River Valley.
The idea occurred to Stephanie one day as she was walking through the River Valley with her husband Derek and daughters Clara and Hazel. She loved being among the beautiful trees and thought it would be the perfect place for people to explore the area with their families as it’s close to so many places people visit and has lots of parking, making it easy for folks to access.
Derek, Clara, Hazel and others all pitched in to create signs and posters to draw people to the event, helped hide the dinosaurs for others to search for, and made sure the dinosaurs stayed in place.
For Stephanie, it was a way for people in the community to connect through a shared experience, and through photos and social media to spread the fun. The joy, excitement and unexpected reactions it created for those joining in the fun was worth the effort and made her proud of her hometown.
“I’ve grown up out here and I just love seeing how our community has grown and developed. I enjoy being a part of it, and I want my kids to be part of it. Okotoks is my home,” says Stephanie.
Jurassic Okotoks is on until the end of May 24 – how many dinos will you find?!
The Johnston family received Kindness Currency for their efforts to help strengthen their connections with their neighbours and build their community spirit.
Justin, Michelle, Lyla, Liam, Abigail and Jack Johnston love to spend time together with friends and family, and enjoy getting to know their neighbours and making things to brighten their days. They joined the Community Champion Program as a way to get more involved and let their neighbours know they are there for one another.
“We are closer to our neighbours because of it,” says Michelle. “We love the sense of community Okotoks has. Everyone is there for one another and cares about what’s going on.”
The children enjoy creating and delivering thoughtful surprises to those around them such as boxes filled with treats, photos and kind letters. Lyla found a new way to keep in touch with other neighborhood children by becoming pen pals and exchanging hand written letters. Abigail loves to create cards for others.
Together, the Johnston family is making a difference by looking out for one another and building the true sense of community in their neighbourhood.
Meet our first Kindness Currency recipient, 9-year-old Hannahlynn Clifford! Hannahlynn loves to help others in her community. She is an active community volunteer and is making a difference through her initiative Hannahlynn’s Backpacks, which makes up backpacks full of supplies for the homeless.
“It doesn’t matter how small you are, you can make a difference and help people, with or without a disability,” says Hannahlynn.
Hannahlynn enjoys packing the bags, and it’s her enjoyment of the activity that led her to come up with the initiative - she does all the work! To date, Hannahlynn has made up over 1000 backpacks over the last five years, including 300 this past Christmas alone to donate to The Mustard Seed to distribute to Calgary’s homeless. She collects donations through her Facebook and Instagram pages (currently seeking items to make summer bags), and raises money to buy supplies for the backpacks through Kool-Aid stands, bottle collecting and support from the community. She also partners with other community initiatives such as the charity haircut bus to help distribute her backpacks.
Volunteerism is also a big way in which Hannahlynn gives back to her community. She raised $600 for the Veteran’s Food Bank by making and selling poppy keychains, she volunteers with Baby It’s Cold Outside, It Takes a Village and participates in many walks all year, including the Coldest Night of the Year walk. Her favourite charities to support are organizations that help animals.
Hannahlynn and her mom Leanne love spending time walking around on Okotoks’ pathways. For them, it’s the people that make Okotoks great. “Okotoks is friendly and people know who Hannahlyn is and recognize her!” Thank you , Hannahlynn, for your positive impact in Okotoks!
Mamie’s Treats was nominated for Kindness Currency to say thank you for all the small gestures they do to make people smile!
Mamie's helps to spread kindness in Okotoks by gifting forward treats to fellow people in Okotoks and local businesses. These small gestures help brighten people's days and brings a little joy to their lives.
Mamie's is passionate about reducing waste, and consistently strives to make people smile through random acts of kindness and by giving back to their community.
Marvin Ogayon was nominated to receive Kindness Currency for his efforts to give back to his community and help those who may be struggling.
For every car he sells at his job, Marvin personally donates $25 to the Okotoks Foodbank. Marvin explained that the reason he wants to give back is because he recognizes how fortunate he is and wants to pay it forward.
"I saw how many people were struggling through the pandemic and who needed an extra helping hand, so I wanted to contribute," said Marvin.
Thank you Marvin for your ongoing support for your community and helping to spread kindness in Okotoks!
Gift It Forward
As a way of saying thank you to those in our community who are helping others, surprise someone with a random act of kindness in the form of a free small gift! Sign up to receive a free gift bag and Gift It Forward to a deserving person, family or local business today.
Submit a request for Gift It Forward bags through the link below. You can request up to four free gift bags to pass along to those who you think deserve a thank you, or who need a little extra boost. You can select a pick up window to get your gift bag(s) and surprise a deserving someone in our community with this small act of kindness.
We might not be able to meet in person, but that shouldn’t stop us from finding ways to connect. Gift It Forward encourages Okotokians to recognize those in the community who are helping others with a surprise gift as a way of saying thank you. This is also a fun and easy way to reach out to someone who may need a reminder that they are not alone.
Residents can sign up for a gift bag and will be encouraged to Gift It Forward to anyone who may need a reminder that Okotoks is stronger together, and to those making a difference and promoting a positive community environment.
Get to know your neighbours, stay connected and celebrate safely through the Community Champion Program. When you become a Community Champion, you'll receive a free toolkit filled with items to help you share your enthusiasm for your community, and access support, tools and ideas to strengthen your social connections within your neighbourhoods.
To apply to be a Community Champion, submit your information through the link below and be sure to include your neighbourhood and a sentence explaining why you will be an awesome Community Champion.
Each Community Champion will receive a toolkit they can share with their neighbours that is filled with fun items, ideas and information on ways to connect and celebrate. You’ll have access to resources to help reach out to your neighbours and will get opportunities and challenges that will get you entered in a draw to win great prizes.
Get to know your neighbours, stay connected, and celebrate safely!