~ the featured heARTist ~
Kelly Thornton Smith~ The Center for Living Peace ~ Irvine, CA
An old friend of mine, Kelly Thornton Smith, has always had a glow about her. A sun-kissed, perpetually smiling girl from a small farm town in Delaware…she defines the term “naturally beautiful.” Her goodness shone right out of her tiny frame from the moment I met her one summer, where we both worked at an amusement center in Rehoboth Beach. We went our separate ways, but somehow we both navigated towards the Golden State of California. Today, Kelly is the founder of The Center for Living Peace in Orange County. It is an inviting, zenlike place where children, families, and adults of all ages can take classes and programs dedicated to the Center’s core values of
~ collaboration ~
~ courage ~
~ compassion ~
Kelly created the Center for Living Peace in 2009 with the simple principle that “good begets good”…the idea that one simple act of kindness can inspire another person to “pay it forward.” She says the whole concept of the Center can be summed up in one simple phrase: Good Happens!
The Center offers really cool, engaging free classes for kids and adults in art, yoga, and music. They recognize how invaluable our youth are to the future harmony and sustainability of life on our planet, and have a commitment to ensuring that a minimum of 50% of all programming time and space is dedicated to children’s and young adult’s classes and programs. Also, The Center has partnered with UC Irvine to sponsor a Living Peace Series, which is a series of conversations with celebrities and international leaders such as Charlize Theron, Sir Richard Branson, and the Dalai Lama himself.
Kelly is realistic about the fact that Orange County is not the most challenged urban area. Her long term goal and dream is that the Center will serve as a model for places that can make “good happen” anywhere in the world.
A far cry from our days policing the water slide with whistles at the beach…this girl has never forgotten her roots. She will always be Kelly from Laurel Delaware to me…but these days Miss Smith, the Orange County philanthropist still has that naturally beautiful heart, and if anything it’s shining even brighter now.
Thanks Kelly for making so much good happen. Keep up the heart work!!!
~ the daily heART ~
See how you can help make good happen: