Group aims to infuse Santee with kindness


Santee Collaborative has launched a Kindness Campaign designed to bridge the school district, business community and local families through signage and storytelling.

Collaborative Director of Communications and Community Outreach Cori Harris said the campaign is intended as an ongoing project but will be heavily promoted throughout the rest of this year.

“Phase one of this effort is to recruit businesses, get the school district involved as well as families by putting signs up and creating awareness. Phase two will be pushing out into the community and asking for stories of kindness,” Harris said, with about 10 businesses participating so far as well as a number of families and local schools.

The overall goal of the campaign, she said, is to highlight ways the community has come together to persevere through the challenges the last couple of years have presented.

The Collaborative will be highlighting stories from the community throughout the year on social media with the end goal of building a bigger, as yet undesigned project.

“This all started after Collaborative members spent time in 2022 reimagining what types of initiatives they could take on to better support the community. There are 20-30 members with different businesses throughout the area and they’ve been collecting data to identify needs in the community like housing, resources for seniors, they participated in a mental health initiative for teen suicide and most recently this kindness campaign,” Harris said.

The campaign was not modeled after any specific program, she said, although members of the Collaborative heard about similar campaigns in other cities and school districts.

“Although we’re not entirely through the pandemic, we really wanted to start bringing the community back together and remind people of why Santee is so wonderful,” Harris said.

In May 2020, a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style white hood shopping at a Vons supermarket on Mission Gorge Road received national attention. Six days later a shopper at a Food4Less on Cuyamaca Street was photographed wearing a face covering decorated with a swastika.

The city of Santee, Harris said, was “one of the first partners that signed on for the campaign” as well as city council, although she also said the city is still defining what their involvement will entail.

In the meantime, they have received feedback on how schools have already begun participating by decorating classroom doors and sending kindness-grams out at school.

Visit for more information about the ongoing Kindness Campaign and how to participate.