Letter: Creating a more compassionate Ridgefield

Christopher Kukk

To the Editor:

Ridgefield has long enjoyed stature as being one of Connecticut’s safest and most enjoyable places to live and raise a family. We are a vibrant community of people who really care about one another and who give generously of themselves as volunteers in schools, museums, civic and religious groups on the ball fields, and to neighbors in need.

Yet, in recent years there have been disheartening indicators that our community is also experiencing a high degree of stress, incivility and racism. Swastikas have been found around town, too many of our young people are stressed and anxious and there are daily incidents of bullying and hostility on ball fields, in lunchrooms and on social media sites by adults and kids. While these issues may have complex underpinnings, they also point to a widespread lack of compassion, sensitivity and empathic responsiveness at times. It has become imperative that we find ways to preserve Ridgefield as the kind, welcoming and accepting town it has always been.

Project Resilience has invited Dr. Christopher Kukk, the founding director of The Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation at WestConn and author of “The Compassionate Achiever: How Helping Others Fuels Success — a 4-step Program for Cultivating Compassion” to speak on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Scotts Ridge Middle School. A former counterintelligence agent and political and social science professor at Western Connecticut State University, Dr. Kukk is an engaging speaker and has great ideas about proven strategies for harnessing the natural tendency for kindness and compassion in people. Dr. Kukk has also been instrumental in helping other communities develop a “Cities of Compassion” initiative. Project Resilience, along with Rudy Marconi, is hoping that Dr. Kukk’s presentation will generate community-wide enthusiasm for developing such an initiative.

We are hoping to fill the auditorium with Ridgefielders who would like to work toward a kinder, more compassionate village.

Carol Mahlstedt

Ridgefield, Nov. 5

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