8/26/10 ASHLAND, OH -- Bob Votruba and his One Million Acts of Kindness Tour will be in Ashland and on the Ashland University campus Sept. 1 and 2.
Votruba is expected to park his blue tour bus by Bixler Hall on King Road, and he and his dog, Bogart, will be roaming the campus, talking to students, handing out literature and preaching about kindness.
In addition, Votruba will speak on "The Power of a Kind Community" on Wednesday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium. The talk is free and open to the public.
The goal of the tour, according to Votruba, is to encourage individuals to perform a million acts of kindness during their lifetime. This requires making a commitment to having a kindness mindset.
Votruba first visited the Ashland University campus last February. The students appreciated both his message and his story, according to Ashland Center for Nonviolence Executive Director John Stratton, and the center invited him back to campus for the beginning of the school year.
"It would be wonderful if we could set a tone of kindness," Stratton said. "People associate kindness with being nice and glossing things over, not rocking the boat. But real kindness requires engagement and encounter. A person who is kind cannot be apathetic, but looks at the world as it is and then, quietly and gently, engages with it."
Votruba is a father of three and says that he began focusing on the issue of kindness as he considered the kind of world his children were growing up in. So he sold his construction company, bought a bus on Craigslist, and invited family, friends and neighbors to paint it. Then he, along with his Boston Terrier Bogart, began what he expects will be a 10-year journey to college campuses across the country to promote kindness.
Votruba says his goal is "to reach out to children, teens and young adults when their minds are open and their personalities are developing. We hope to teach them kindness, empathy and a generosity for others. By living in kindness they will discover the happiness that they can bring to those around them, and ultimately to themselves as well."
Votruba is currently working with educators to create a curriculum for school children.
Votruba's visit is sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence at Ashland University. The center was formed by a group of citizens committed "to exploring and promoting alternatives to violence in ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world." It does this through programming and training that foster discussion and consideration of issues, both historical and contemporary, related to nonviolence. It serves as a resource center for people exploring nonviolence. It links people to information about nonviolence and to activities exploring and promoting nonviolence.
Additional information about the center is available at any of its programs, at its website www.ashland.edu/acn<http://www.ashland.edu/acn>, or by calling 419-289-5313 and leaving a message. Future programming this fall will focus on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.