Non-profit Life Vest Inside hosts Dance for Kindness flash mob in Esther Short Park
VANCOUVER — There were thousands of parades this past weekend honoring American service men and women, but there was only one Dance for Kindness flash mob focused on veterans.
Esther Short Park was filled with close to 75 orange clad men and women, boys and girls, dancing and thanking members of the armed forces Sunday afternoon for a World Kindness Day freeze and flash mob with a ceremony honoring veterans.
This is the second annual Dance for Kindness for Vancouver and Clark County, with the previous being at an area school.
Globally, Dance for Kindness flash mobs focused solely on spreading awareness, occured the same day in 120 cities, 50 countries and with over 15,000 participants.
Worldwide nonprofit, Life Vest Inside, puts on the Dance for Kindness campaign.
The group had its Clark County branch, headed by local teacher Jason Hattrick, out on Sunday, along with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, (CCSO), to create a living display of kindness, and honor military men and women with music, handshakes and dancing.
“It was one of the most beautiful exchanges I have ever seen amidst handshakes, hugs and tears,” Hattrick said in a press release Tuesday. “In that moment, they were embracing servanthood, heroism and freedom. Vancouver stood up for its heroes!”
Along with volunteers, Clark County Sheriff Chuck E. Atkins and Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, attended the event to personally thank veterans who were present at the event.
“To be able to recognize the veterans was just amazing,” Atkins said. “There were tears in the eyes of some of those men walking up to me. I believe everybody owes a huge debt of gratitude to the young and to the old and all of those in the military that have put their lives on the line; their mental health, their stability … so that we can be the free nation that we are.”
CCSO also has also created a kindness citation program with Life Vest Inside; issuing citations to young people in the community that exemplify and spread kindness in their communities.
“I never seen that type of love expressed so artistically,” said McEnerny-Ogle. “It felt very different than a parade … You’re there and this community put their arms around you. I think that’s what they felt. All those orange t-shirts came and put their arms around, put put those veterans in the center of a giant community hug.”
Clark County’s Life Vest Inside will hold a second Dance for Kindness flash mob this Friday at McLoughlin Middle School in Vancouver. Close to 300 students are expected to participate.
“Looking out over the crowd and seeing the adults, the parents, the older folks, the young kids, willing to stand in a public forum, that many times is a forum of protest,” said Sheriff Atkins. “This was their protest, of kindness.”
For more information on Life Vest Inside, visit their website at www.lifevestinside.com.