The simple kindness of strangers and friends sustained Jeannette Maré and her family after her son, Ben, died just before his third birthday. Inspired by these gestures, she created Ben’s Bells, a community art project that encourages and celebrates kindness. Before becoming full time Executive Director of Ben’s Bells, Jeannette was faculty at the University of Arizona teaching discourse analysis. She is grateful to have the opportunity to combine her two passions – teaching and community building – in her role with Ben’s Bells.
What was the first thing that made you smile today? A love text from a friend
Who is a mama that inspires you? (Living or dead, real or fictional) My friend, Michele Walsh. Real, very real.
What is the one extravagance you view as a necessity? Massage (no shorter than an hour and a half)
What cause is close to your heart? Tu Nidito Children and Family Services – their “Children to Children” program supports grieving children.
Which talent (real or imaginary) would you most like to have? A magical singing voice!!
What is your favorite thing to do with three hours to yourself? Yoga and reading outside
What day-to-day achievement gives you renewed energy and enthusiasm? Inspiring people to be intentional about kindness.
If you were a food or beverage, what would you be? An avocado. J
If the day had an extra hour in it, and you could not spend it catching up or doing required tasks, what would you do? Hang out with a few friends or family, outside, with a cold drink and some snacks.
If you were the lead singer in your own cover band, what song would you sing? I don’t know if I can say this, but “Bitch” (I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed). It’s very real. J
What family tradition do you look forward to most? Participating in the All Souls Procession (Dia de los Muertos)
What is your most favorite holiday and tradition? Holiday poppers at Thanksgiving dinner.
What is one thing you say to your kids that your mama never said? Suck it up!
What was the funniest thing your kid did or said yesterday? We had to get up yesterday at 3:30 a.m. to catch a flight so my kids weren’t particularly funny. I can think of some sleepy, grouchy things, but nothing funny.
What is one thing that you consider yourself ridiculously good at? Parallel parking.
Where in the world would you most like to spend a week with your family? On the beach in South Africa.
What is your motto? Be kind.
Who would star in the movie of your life? Sarah Jessica Parker
What do you love most about being a mom? Watching my kids do something they love – sports, music, performance…
What do you and your partner do to reconnect? Go trail running and then sit and have coffee after.
What is the single most brilliant invention (gadget, product) that makes your life as a mama easier? I have teenagers, so the obvious answer is deodorant.
What is the one strategy that keeps your family moving right along on a day-to-day basis? Encouraging gratitude and keeping things in perspective (no whining).