On Sunday, March 20, the first day of spring, Spring de Haviland headed to the Santa Monica Pier, prepared to collect advice for a “kindness o’gram” to send to this year’s presidential candidates as part of her 5th annual Spring Into Kindness Campaign.

Four years ago, de Haviland put the focus of her event on how the presidential candidates could show kindness during their campaign, but the chance for visitors to write words or draw pictures on the kindness o’gram to “promote integrity, decorum and honorable behavior” among the candidates was an idea she had this year.

“It’s gotten so the candidates in the race have all of this snipping, and the negativity, and it’s just not acceptable behavior for someone who wants to be president,” de Haviland said. “For a world leader, whoever the president ends up being, the world leader, it is important that their behavior not be demoralizing. And because of the negativity [the presidential candidates] have shown, they needed to be pulled into accountability … we’re on a worldwide stage with the presidential election and so I decided to create my ‘Spring Into Kindness’ platform for the candidates.”

The “platform” de Haviland is promoting is threefold.

“1. Be kind. 2. Play nice. 3. Follow the ‘pyramid of success’ created by UCLA coach, John Wooden. Those are the rules I think they should follow.”

de Haviland believes this year’s Spring Into Kindness Campaign to have been “uplifting.”

“I’ll even use the word dazzling,” she said. “There were people there from all over. A girl from Thailand was very excited to write a message and was saying she’d be putting pictures from the event up on her Facebook. The interaction was really wonderful. People would write something on this bright red poster like ‘You are capable of great things.’ It was truly super satisfying. It just went beyond my expectation. The enthusiasm was great. People were very enthusiastic and supportive.”

As creator and producer of the event, de Haviland has always held it on the Santa Monica Pier because she believes it to be, “a good nucleus to interact with people from all over the world.”

“That was something I chose because I thought holding it there, it is a great core for the city,” de Haviland said. “A cultural variety of people from all over the world go to the pier, so it is wonderful just to be in the heart of a cultural meeting place. And that is where I kind of get an ‘ambassadorship’ feeling from my program and like to show a positive side of life in the United States. I like to be warm and welcoming to them. That’s why I also give out flowers and fortune cookies.”

de Haviland, a veteran of the Coast Guard, began her endeavor to promote kindness as an “emmisary” with the Random Act of Kindness Movement. She created special events at local schools and produced Hands Along Hawthorne where the community joined hand in hand promoting goodwill toward all.

jennifer@www.smdp.com