Don Tolly is a local ‘Champion’ of The Kindness Revolution, a national nonprofit that works to reward people who are kind.

Don Tolly is trying to do his part to make St. Joseph a better place.

The local American Family Insurance agent became a “Champion” for The Kindness Revolution last fall. He said his personal connection to family members being bullied is why the idea “touched his heart.”

“I felt like this was an opportunity to make a difference in the community,” Mr. Tolly said.

The Kindness Revolution is a nonprofit based in Memphis, Tenn. The campaign stems from a book, with the same name, about raising the bar of customer service in businesses.

“We kind of stumbled into what we’re doing now,” said author and founder Ed Horrell. “The idea just took legs.”

The concept involved mini events in schools and businesses in Memphis and grew to include communities all across the country, including St. Joseph.

“It’s all about promoting kindness when all we hear about is the negative stuff,” Mr. Tolly said.

The concept is simple. When Mr. Tolly hears about an act of kindness, he tries to reach out to that person and give them an award of appreciation for their good deed — for example, when the cross country runner at Truman Middle School helped his fellow runner make it to the finish line. He’s also made a special visit to a local office to award the boss after employees recommended her.

“They are usually surprised to be honored for being kind,” Mr. Tolly said.

He also enjoys visiting schoolchildren and encouraging them to not only be kind to their peers, but to acknowledge those who do. The Kindness Revolution has two bracelets, for kindness and paying it forward. He hands those out as often as possible.

Any business owner in St. Joseph has the opportunity to partner with Mr. Tolly.

“The reason I support The Kindness Revolution is because there’s nothing wrong with being kind,” he said.

Mr. Horrell said the decision was made quickly to go into a lot of cities and find the Don Tollys of the world who want to create a brand with The Kindness Revolution.

“There are two types of agents: chasers and attractors,” he said. “The attractors have a niche, value or a theme that attracts people to them. They are leading with kindness. It’s an initiative.”

Anyone can stop by to pick up bracelets or talk to Mr. Tolly at his office at 2335 N. Belt Highway. For more information, call (816) 232-8400.

Jennifer Hall can be reached

at jenn.hall@newspressnow.com.

Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.