Ridgefield High School creating mural to spread kindness

Ridgefield High School is looking to add a colorful reminder to its campus for the sake of spreading kindness.

Ridgefield High School is looking to add a colorful reminder to its campus for the sake of spreading kindness.

Macklin Reid / Hearst Connecticut Media

RIDGEFIELD — Ridgefield High School (RHS) is looking to add a colorful reminder to its campus for the sake of spreading kindness.

Members of the school community have been working on plans to install a Ben’s Bells mural in the campus’ courtyard. After the pandemic disrupted their plans to install the mural last year, the community is preparing to unveil the project this June.

Ben’s Bells is a national nonprofit organization based out of Arizona that works to spread kindness across the country. Founder Jeannette Maré started the mission in 2003 after she suddenly lost her 3-year-old son. Maré made wind chimes in the months following her son’s death, which helped her healing process.

As the project grew, the organization has worked to distribute their bells as signs of kindness, with several institutions getting involved artistically with murals and other community partnerships.

RHS executive board secretary Anna Vasconcelos said the Ben’s Bells mural is part of a larger effort within the school to spread kindness. “It’s a daily reminder of how important a message it is and how our community wants to foster this idea to make our school a better place that can improve and embody the Ben’s Bells message of being kind,” she said.

The mural — built from handcrafted tiles — will be centrally located within the school’s courtyard, a place surrounded by windows and hallways that will make it easy for students to see every day, Vasconcelos said.

Faculty and students will kick off the two-month-long project on April 7 by making the mosaic tiles with instructors from Ben’s Bells. After all of the tiles are made, volunteers will gather to paint them on April 22. The final installation is scheduled for June 15 and will be completed with a final grouting the following day.

The mural will cost approximately $4,000 to install. The school community raised money for the project by selling Ben's Bells necklaces and cookie dough. They’ve also received donations from local sponsors, but still haven't reached the $4,000 mark.

RHS social studies teacher and student government adviser Jennifer DeJulio said she’s excited to finally see the mural come to fruition after discussing the possibility with students for several years. “When we finally return to the building post-COVID, I love that this symbol will be shining over all of us,” she said.

Vasconcelos agreed, saying the mural will be a good way to end the year on a high note. “It’s something to look forward to after a long, hard year,” she added. “This will be at RHS for years to come.”