We could all use a little kindness, and who better than the legacy of Pennsylvania's favorite neighbor Fred Rogers to inspire us?
The state Department of Community and Economic Development has officially declared a "1-4-3 Day" for Friday, May 21 through Sunday, May 23. Pennsylvania introduced 1-4-3 Day in 2019 to create a statewide kindness movement and to honor Fred Rogers by encouraging Pennsylvanians to show their neighbors a little extra friendship and love.
Inspired by the life lessons of Pittsburgh native Mister Rogers, 1-4-3 Day challenges all to do a good deed for a neighbor or someone in the community. Rogers used 1-4-3 as another way of saying “I love you,” with 1-4-3 representing the number of letters found in each word.
As the state continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a declaration on April 30, encouraging all Pennsylvanians to spread more kindness, more love, and more generosity this year.
“Though 1-4-3 Day has looked a little different since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, its impact will be felt and needed now more than ever. Over the past year, we’ve learned that kind gestures can be made anywhere, anytime,” said Gov. Wolf. “Whether by offering a simple note of appreciation or donating to those in need, I encourage everyone to show their support and compassion to celebrate this day across the commonwealth.”
Pennsylvanians can find inspiration for the day with the state’s Kindness Generator at pa.gov/143-day. The website includes a Kindness Tracker to track all the great deeds throughout 1-4-3 Day Weekend.
“This year, it is so important that we continue to spread kindness and positivity in our communities and beyond,” said Carrie Fischer Lepore, deputy secretary, Office of Marketing, Tourism, and Film for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “The past two years, we’ve seen our neighbors, both young and old, take part in 1-4-3 Day, showing gratitude with acts of kindness in many different forms and we can’t wait to see the new and creative ways Pennsylvanians express their kindness this year.”
Lepore reminded Pennsylvanians that acts of kindness don’t need to be grand; they can include:
- volunteering at a local charitable organization in your community;
- making someone smile with an unexpected compliment;
- paying for the person behind you in the drive-thru or at the store;
- bringing coffee to your co-workers;
- donating blood;
- sending someone a handwritten card or note;
- getting outside for a Kindness Walk (1.43 miles);
- dropping off new or gently used clothes/toys to those in need;
- preparing a meal for your household or family members, or
- creating inspiring sidewalk art using chalk.
At the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, MediaNews Group initiated a campaign to engage readers to share "random acts of kindness" encountered in local communities. Readers responded with stories about people delivering hand sanitizer which was at that time in short supply to essential workers, seamstresses making cloth masks and distributing them free throughout their neighborhood, retirees offering free babysitting to parents whose jobs were essential and whose children were suddenly home with schools and day care centers closed.
That spirit of community is now being felt among the volunteers working at vaccine clinics and the related help to assist people with making appointments, getting to clinics and staying safe.
A year of COVID has changed perspective on many things, but kindness remains constant. Some may see 1-4-3 Day as a bit hokey and promotional, but the goal is neither of those things. Reaching out to others with a helping hand or a good word never goes out of date. Just look to the memories of Mr. Rogers for the reminder. We're all neighbors, despite our differences. Treat each other well. Be kind.