Airdrie teens honoured for acts of kindness
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 12:48 pm
Airdrie teens Mackenzie Murphy, 15, and Caitlin Haacke, 16, were among 26 nominees and the only Canadians for the Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Award on Jan. 16 they were announced as part of the 10 winners.
The award is named for one of the victims of the 2012 elementary school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“All the awards I have gotten, they all mean so many different things to me,” Murphy said. “To me this one in particular is such an honour to be recognized because, but it’s not even the recognition, it’s who it’s coming from. It was such a bad tragedy that has turned into something beautiful.”
Haacke agreed, saying this award has a special meaning to it.
“(Charlotte Bacon’s) family chose not to dwell on the past and to do something good in her name, which is just amazing,” Haacke said.
Haacke said she also appreciates that this award comes with a donation to the charities of their choice; Haacke will donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada in honour of her grandfather and Murphy will donate half of the winnings to the Amanda Todd Legacy and half to Kids Help Phone.
The amount of the donation will not be known until the Award celebration in Newtown. Conn., on Feb. 21.
When asked if they felt they had become the face of anti-bullying and mental health awareness in Airdrie; Murphy helped bring about Airdrie’s anti-bullying bylaw and Haacke was a driving force behind Positive Post-It Day, the teens were hesitant to accept that title.
“I know there are lots of other people doing amazing things everywhere else,” Haacke said. “Things like this kind of set off a ripple effect of kindness.”
“Everybody regards Airdrie as a small town, the city next to Calgary, but we really are an awesome community,” she added.
“We have people that are willing to stand beside you. It goes to show there is a lot of kindness in the community.”
“As a province we have sky rocketed with mental health and bullying (awareness). Everyone’s super supportive in our province,” Murphy said of local and provincial government. “Other provinces don’t have that equality view on mental health and anti-bullying.”
Both teens were very aware of what was happening at a municipal government level. Haacke spoke of what happened at the most recent City council meeting and Murphy said she couldn’t wait to turn 18 so she could vote and help make decisions.
“The Aldermen in the city are willing to stand up to make sure (bullying) doesn’t happen in our community,” Haacke said.
As for kindness, the girls both said it’s the little things that count in a big way.
“Random acts of kindness are something everyone in the community can do,” Haacke said, adding something as simple as paying for the order of the person behind you in the Tim Hortons drive thru can make someone’s day. “The little acts of kindness we do every day really can change the community for the better.”
Murphy told of a time she was deeply depressed and she received an unexpected message from one of her friends telling Murphy she was thinking of her.
“When I got it, it was so simple but it changed my life because I could have done something to end my life but I didn’t because of it,” Murphy said.
“Seeing kindness is beautiful. It makes me happy when other people finally see that,” she added.