From a mother’s grief, a beautiful concept was born.

When Jeannette Maré’s son, Ben, died at age three, her world collapsed. Her grief, as any parent can understand, shook her to the core.

“Fortunately, we were surrounded by amazing people who came in and offered us kindness in amazing ways,” she explained. “We realized that the kindness people were offering us wasn’t taking away the sadness or the pain, but was holding us while we held the sadness and pain that we needed to feel.”

Realizing the immense power of kindness, the seed was planted and she created Ben’s Bells as a way not only to honor her son, but to water the seed and grow it into a tree with branches and leaves of kindness that can touch many people.

Last week, Ben’s Bells hosted their annual fundraising event, “A Celebration of Kindness” at their studio in downtown Tucson. Entertainment included steel drum band Jovert from Tucson High Magnet School, The Determined Luddites and Carlos Arzate and The Kind Souls.

Each ceramic bell is created by hand by volunteers and community members. You can’t buy them, but you can hang them and find them hanging, ringing out the notes of kindness throughout Tucson, Phoenix, and Connecticut.

Michael McConnell, a board member and elementary school principal at Lulu Walker praises the kindness initiative.

“The project unites the school community,” he stated. “If I can start with a five-year-old and create a kind individual, selfishly, I know I’m sending out 500 kind kids into the world from my school.”

Summed up Maré, “If all of us, at all different levels of our community are tied into this practice, then we all reinforce each other and we will see real, significant change.”

How can you be involved? Go to the studio (alone, or with a group of friends or co-workers) and create bells with clay and glazes in one of their two studios in town. Promote the Kindness education programs throughout the community in schools, business, and even in prisons. And, of course, donate.

www.bensbells.org.