Why Bethel Nonprofits Matter
You're IT Ben's Bells Project!
Four questions with Cody Foss, Regional Manager of Ben's Bells Project.
Tell me about how Ben's Bells Project started
Our organization was formed to spread intentional kindness throughout communities. Ben’s Bells are colorful ceramic ornaments hung in communities throughout the world as symbols of kindness for people to find and take home.
Thousands of volunteers visit our studios and help us make Bells each year. By the time each Bell is hung, many hands have had a part in its journey, and it represents the efforts of an entire community coming together to make one person’s day a little kinder.
What is your best-selling product/service?
We provide multiple programs to connect folks through kindness. These programs range from our free "Kind Campus Program" where we provide free programming to schools K-12 to our community art projects held at our studio where volunteers are welcome to participate in meaningful and impactful activities.
We have a Mural Program which is starting to take off in the Tri-State Area we have over 35 murals ranging from 10 x 10' - 6' x 6'. We also have a kindness gift shop where we sell handmade ornaments and other merchandise that have a consistent "Be Kind" message.
Our programs connect people all across the country and we are in several hundred schools nationwide. However, locally our greatest support and relationship is with the amazing volunteers that support Ben's Bells and our mission on every level possible.
Have you "reimagined" Ben's Bells Project?
Our studio in Bethel is a small business on every level but our message and impact are an international message and so very important for all of us. The skill of being kind is essential to being a human being. When we try to reimagine our organization, we dream of the potential we could have if we were able to connect with even more people and impact more communities.
Ben's Bells Founder Story
In 2002, Jeannette Maré’s life changed forever when her son, Ben, died suddenly just before his third birthday. In the months following his death, Jeannette and her friends and family began making ceramic wind chimes – the first Ben’s Bells – in her backyard studio. Being surrounded by supportive people and working with clay toward a common goal was therapeutic for her family and their healing.
During this time, Jeannette learned how a small act of kindness could make such a difference in a person’s life, no matter their background. She wanted to find a way to teach others about the impact of intentional acts of kindness, and so the idea for the Bell came to life. Jeannette and her friends made four hundred Bells and randomly distributed them in the Tucson community on the first anniversary of Ben’s death. Through these Bells, she had found a way to pay forward the kindnesses that had been shown to her.
This started a powerful ripple effect. People who found the Bells shared their own stories of grief and healing and hope. The local newspaper printed the story on the front page. School groups and businesses and individuals started calling to see how they could get involved and soon, thousands of Tucsonans were helping to craft Ben’s Bells.
Since 2003, Ben’s Bells has been operating as a nonprofit, growing kindness education programs and continuing to distribute thousands of Bells every year. The Bells are a symbol of kindness and its power to Heal. These simple wind chimes touch people’s lives and create kinder communities.