In my last blog, I spoke about doing a community service project with Ben’s Bells while on a business trip in Phoenix, Arizona. I would like to elaborate on the organization and the meaning of what they do. *This information has been taken from the Ben’s Bells website as well as information Jeannette told our group. I hope I do her organization justice*
On March 29th, a 3 year old Ben, son of Jeannette and Dean Packard, passed away suddenly from Croup. Every parent’s worst nightmare was their reality and they didn’t know how they would possibly survive, but they had a 6 year old son that they still needed to be there for.
Slowly, they began incorporating coping strategies into their lives and came up with a design for Ben’s Bells, ceramic hanging works of art. The therapeutic effect of working with clay and the power of being surrounded by people, talking, and working toward a common goal was what they needed to get back on track. They decided to make hundreds of the Bells and distribute them randomly in their community to encourage the kindness that they so depended on to get through each day. Since Ben’s death, it had been the kindness of others, strangers and friends, that had helped them begin to heal. They wanted to find a way to pass on that kindness and to help others in the process.
On the first anniversary of his death, hundreds of Ben’s Bells were distributed throughout Tucson, hung randomly in trees, on bike paths, and in parks with a written message to simply take one home and pass on the kindness. Individuals finding the Bells had stories to tell about grief and healing and hope.
Ben’s Bells symbolize kindness and its power in healing. Each Bell is created by the hands of many different people. By the time one Bell is completed, a multitude of individuals have been involved in the process.
When hearing this story for the first time, I thought Jeannette was an amazing person. Very strong. I have two young kids of my own, and as I was molding my beads, I thought of my kids, and what I would ever do if something happened to them. It felt good to help in the process of making a Bell.
To read how I learned about Ben’s Bells, please read my blog “Proud Wife”.
Tags: Arizona community service, Ben's bells, ceramic thearapy, childhood illness, clay molding, community service, community service projects, community support, cope with child death, croup, dealing with death of child, death of baby, death of child, giving back, kindness, the act of kindness