Spreading kindness on the wings of butterflies [Towson]

Towson Times

Towson's Bykota Senior Center pulled off a "Butterfly Blitz" to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week, which was Feb. 12-18. Bykota is an acronym for "Be Ye Kind One To Another," and the members of this senior community are committed to their namesake mission. Bykota's handmade butterfly ornaments are still out fluttering about town, bringing smiles to finders, and motivating people to spread goodwill in the world.

Inspired by the onslaught of recent negativity in the news and on social media, Bykota Center Director, Julie Lynn, searched for ideas to spread kindness. "I was looking for something like a kindness conference to gather with like-minded people," says Lynn. "I stumbled upon an organization called Ben's Bells. They put beautiful works of art out into the world to remind people to be kind and to pass on that kindness. I thought 'Oh my goodness, we could do that at Bykota!' I brought the idea to the board and they agreed."

The project started in December. A small "Kindness Club" at Bykota meets twice a month to make the butterflies. The center's classes in clay, collage, wood shop and knitting and crocheting have also created butterflies for the cause. Approximately 200 butterflies have been crafted so far. When they are ready for display, staff or members head out to place the art pieces somewhere they can be discovered. Attached tags note the origin and intention of the butterflies. They have been spotted up and down York Road, around downtown Towson, at the library, and in nearby senior residence buildings.

Have you found a butterfly yet? I have discovered several near Stoneleigh Bowling Lanes and at the West Towson playground. It was so much fun to not only find a surprise treasure and appreciate the creativity, but also to be able to pass it along and share the message with others. Everyone who sees the butterflies really gets the urge to spread that feeling of joy. When, at the playground, another mom selected a bright, beaded butterfly hanging on a bench, she said she planned to take it downtown and find a new place to put it to keep the movement going (although her young daughter really wanted to keep that butterfly, and that's OK, too!).

The project will continue throughout the year, with more kindness blitzes to come. If you'd like to help Bykota with this project, they would greatly appreciate donations of beads, polymer clay, ribbon, foam, craft cord, wire and other materials. Located on Central Avenue in the former Towson High School building, Bykota Senior Center offers fantastic classes and activities for nearly 2,000 members, aged 60 and over. To learn more, visit bykota.org or call 410-887-3094.

I'd love to hear about more good news in our community. Let me know if you have some to share!

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