The Josh Stevens Foundation makes an impact
By Regina Arnold
The Stevens family started the foundation after the tragic loss of their son, Josh. Barbara Stevens, Josh’s mom, explains the inspiration behind the foundation. “When we lost Josh, we were all so sad. Many people came forward with amazing stories of Josh. When you have a child, you as a parent know how special they are, but when a whole community steps up to support and remind you of his unique brand of kindness, you really start to recognize that others knew about his enormous heart as well.
“Josh was always doing something kind for someone else. We believe that when he was kind to others, seeing how it made them feel, it inspired him to pour out more kindness. It was a necessity to him. And when a person would say ‘thank you’ to him, it filled him so full that it would make his day. This is how and why we came up with The Josh Stevens Foundation and the Kindness Card. It’s a simple way to ‘catch’ someone and let them know that their genuine kindness can change the world. Our hope is that people being ‘caught’ will be inspired to be more kind, more often,” she said.
Josh had a way of impacting people with his kindness. One of Josh’s best friends described him this way, “Josh was a unique spirit—full of life, with a heart as big as a lion and enough love to share with everyone he encountered.”
The Josh Stevens Foundation has partnered with schools, businesses and youth organizations across the nation. Their hope is to spread awareness about The Josh Stevens Foundation and its goal of recognizing and celebrating heartfelt kind acts. They began with Paseo Verde Little League because Josh played baseball with them for six years. As awareness spreads and the Kindness Revolution expands, the program has continued to grow with more than 300 Be Kind schools and youth programs. More and more organizations are embracing their simple message of spreading kindness.
The program is simple, when someone is caught being kind they are given a Kindness Card. The Kindness Card explains what the Josh Stevens Foundation is and what it means to be caught being kind. Wrapped around the card is a lime green silicone bracelet that reads, “Be Kind … like Josh.” Organizations participating in the program are also given colorful silicone bracelets with the “Be Kind … like Josh” quote to be handed out so people remember to live kind and encourage others. With this program, children and adults are reminded that people really do appreciate kind actions, even though most times they go unnoticed.
“We believe that genuine kindness is born in the heart of a child. A kind act is an action reflecting good nature and wellbeing, without the necessity for recognition. The recognition of the Josh Stevens Foundation Kindness Cards is without expectation and is an unexpected recognition complimented with great celebration,” Barbara Stevens said.
During the past four years, the concept of their mission has travelled quickly through word of mouth from friends and supporters. “We have grown exponentially through the surmountable support of the community. Friends of the foundation have unselfishly donated their time and money to help us spread kindness through the celebration of kind acts. When people hear about Josh they are incredibly motivated to join the kindness revolution. We’re extremely honored to have had so many people reach out to support our mission,” Barbara Stevens said.
Josh’s legacy continues through spreading the importance of kindness to the world. “I would trade the Josh Stevens Foundation for Josh’s life any day. However, this is where we are and we believe in Josh’s legacy to encourage children to be more kind. Josh’s kindness lives in every child who decides to be kind,” Barbara Stevens said.
To find out more information about the Josh Stevens Foundation, visit joshstevensfoundation.org. Online you can donate to the Foundation and the Kindness Revolution as well as seek volunteer opportunities. They also sell Kindness apparel on the website where all proceeds go to support the Josh Stevens Foundation.