Earlier this month, Wilton resident Becky Hudspeth received an award from the organization Ben’s Bells, which promotes the positive impact of intentional kindness as a way of life. The award of a Ben’s Bell recognizes someone who spreads and inspires kindness throughout the community.
She was nominated by fellow Wiltonian Julie Fowler, to mark Hudspeth’s retirement after 26 years of service at St. Matthew’s Church. Fowler wrote in her nomination letter to the Ben’s Bells organization that Hudspeth was deserving of recognition because of “her selfless dedication to youth through her consistent above and beyond grace of kindness… She will continue to model, nurture and foster kindness as it is a conscious priority for her. She is the gift of kindness.”
Below is the letter Fowler wrote to the Belling Committee to nominate Hudspeth. The words in this letter do perfect justice to explaining who Hudspeth is and why she is so deserving of a Ben’s Bell recognition.
I am writing on behalf of my colleague of three years. The scope of my knowledge of Becky is based on my personal experience with her which doesn’t begin to touch upon the surface of what she has accomplished through her intentional kindness before I knew her. I have known her for about seven years and have been working with her for three.
Twenty-six years ago, Becky Hudspeth accepted an administrative role overseeing the Church School for youth within St. Matthews Church here in Wilton, CT. A former teacher, her organization and creativity spoke for themselves. What her parish ultimately received was a dedicated, consciously kind, role model whose way of life would shape generations of youth and families to come.
Building relationships has always been at the core of who Becky Hudspeth is as a person. She lives her life consciously aware of treating others with respect and dignity through her inclusive nature and that of acceptance. She believes in making sure all people know they matter. As a result, families have entrusted her with their children’s faith and emotional development for years in her spiritual care. She has implemented appropriate hands on opportunities to enable all children inclusive of their abilities and capabilities to take part in the Church School curriculum. She has developed lay person Church School trainings to enable the parent teachers to bring out the best in their student through relationship building and making connections. She has led a children’s day program including sign language and visual concepts so that all may partake. She models to the children how being kind can have a ripple effect and acknowledges when she sees it in action.
Twice per year she leads a project entitled “The Give a Smile Bag.” The bags are put together with the students and then delivered to people within the community who would benefit from this generous act of kindness. During weekday activities at the church she will walk up to meet the bus and wait for the students to get off for choir practice in the event their mothers or care givers do the same at home. She is prepared with snacks and has a variety to help with allergies or preferences. She is understanding and accommodating of busy schedules even if it is sacrificing of her own time. She exemplifies flexibility and the children and parents have taken notice of over the years. Becky is inclusive of all faiths, genders and races. She lives by the Golden Rule and leads by example.
About 10 years ago she added on to her role as she accepted the role of youth group facilitator. She followed her younger Church School students on up though their teen years and continued building relationships and developing young minds and hearts. She has taken a vested interest in the lives of the youth at her Church often attending concerts, sporting events, plays and other community events. She follows their schedules to show support while encouraging their efforts. The youth love to see her in the audience. She has taken multiple groups to Ben’s Bells in the recent past. She was the first to encourage our Confirmand students to join her in an act of solidarity as she led the group to the Hindu Temple after an act of hate put a brick through its window. She leads a yard raking effort every year for an elderly couple in the neighborhood. She takes a group caroling to the elderly home to spread holiday cheer every December. In the late winter she has led a group of high schoolers down to Washington DC to teach them about homelessness in America; that there is a world outside of Fairfield County CT. The youth spend a week interacting with the homeless and understanding their plight. They learn that they are no different than we are as humans and that their greatest hope is to be treated with dignity and respect. She believes that acceptance and self-esteem contribute greatly to facilitating kind acts. She is a firm believer in building bridges and has hosted youth groups involving different faith-based organizations as to develop relationships among the teenagers in the group. She models that one should never be afraid to be the first person to be kind and armed with a strong sense of self and acceptance of difference, everyone is capable of just that and it is never too early to start.
About five years ago, Wilton opened our doors to a Syrian Refugee family. Becky and her husband, Steve, were integral in making this happen. As the family acclimated into Wilton’s very different culture, Becky became a mentor, friend and extended grandparent to the family. She nurtured the single mother of four’s talent of sewing and showcased her pillows within the community using her connections. This opened the door for some income for the family. Becky would attend school events with the family as to help navigate a new process and culture for their educational and social inclusion. She helped build yet another bridge between the small children and her Church School youth by inviting them to fun events. The family is continuing to settle into Wilton. They feel secure largely based upon the relationship with Becky Hudspeth and her husband Steve.
Whether it be her position within the church or community based, she exemplifies how conscious acts of kindness can impress upon and impact lives of young and old alike. Her greatest gift to those around her is her ability to lead by example. This gift of kindness is one that continues to pay itself forward as more and more children and families emulate the conscious awareness that comes with kindness. So many people are better because they know her. So many people are committed to kindness as recipients of hers. So many people feel whole because she has fulfilled their lives.
Seventeen months ago, Becky’s sister in Florida was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She has processed this diagnosis while not compromising any of her gift from God. She has been able to be there for her sister while not skipping a beat with her youth here in Wilton.
Becky has announced her retirement after 26 years of service for this June. She is so deserving of recognition to her selfless dedication to youth through her consistent above and beyond grace of kindness. I am lucky to know her, work with her, learn from her and call her friend. She will continue to model, nurture and foster kindness as it is a conscious priority for her. She IS the gift of kindness.