Be kind: Book lovers get the message from North Stratfield kids

Kindness not only matters, it’s contagious.

That’s the philosophy behind a grassroots group of Fairfield moms and students who believe random acts of kindness can play a role in helping to combat bullying.

For a fourth year in a row, students from North Stratfield Elementary School last week brought hundreds of hand-crafted bookmarks to the Fairfield Woods Branch Library, which they placed in books as a pleasant surprise to unsuspecting readers.

“There seems to be all of this talk about anti-bullying, so let’s try to use more proactive language,” said Veronica Mollica, who with the local Kindness Matters movement promotes positive attitudes and activities. She has even posted some suggestions and plans for others to make use of on a website,

“I think people are starved for positive information,” she said, noting the kindness movement hopes to plant seeds to inspire people to change their behavior. “And it doesn’t take up a lot of time.”

“It’s nice,” said Leila Stein, 7, who was among the students hiding bookmarks, a number of which she helped make as part of international Random Acts of Kindness Week. “Other people can find them and they’re going to smile.”

“The idea is … when kids come and take them out, they’ll have a wonderful, uplifting surprise and it’ll make them feel good about themselves,” said Nancy Gambuzza of Fairfield. “Hopefully, they’ll pass it on to someone else — pay it forward a little.”

“It’s literally just really simple,” said Nicky Faustini, 11. “It’s cool to be kind.”

“We did it last year and I remember I walked out the door and just felt like I did a really nice thing,” he added.

“It makes you feel good knowing you’re being kind to someone,” said Meg Barnous, 10.

“It’s important because there’s lots of bullying in the world and we don’t want that anymore,” said Ty LaRose, 11, of Fairfield. “We’re trying to end that, and we’re trying to help people who can’t help themselves.”