Alumna Spreads Kindness in Her Community

Kindness means something different to everyone, but to Stephanie Sweany, ’05, it means making a stranger’s day a little better by simply smiling at them. Stephanie started the Canton Kindness Coalition to “make kindness contagious” in November 2018.

Stephanie Sweany sitting at a coffee shop, smiling for the camera
“It’s the simple gestures in life that can turn someone’s day around. The person who looks rushed and hurried, stressed from having to run from meeting to meeting, how great would it make them feel to get a coffee,” Stephanie says. “Kindness gives people hope and strength. There’s always room for a little more kindness.”

Stephanie believes it is important to create a place where everyone belongs. She has made it her mission to spread kindness to others throughout her community. 

“I love waking up every day knowing that we are helping people, giving them hope,” Stephanie says.

The Canton Kindness Coalition has more than 30 members, including many Kent State alumni. They spread cheer into the community by making holiday cards for local veterans, hosting a food drive for a local animal shelter and helping in many other ways.

In addition to impacting the community with this movement, Stephanie fights hunger as the assistant director at the Stark County Hunger Task Force. She also works as a tour guide for Canton Food Tours, taking participants to restaurants in Canton and discussing historical facts about the city along the way.

Her love of giving back stems back from her time at Kent State. As a student, Stephanie worked at the Child Development Center on the Kent Campus where she cultivated a passion for education and making a difference. She worked her way up to an assistant teacher for the preschool and kindergarten classrooms.

“When I finished my junior year, the directors at the Child Development Center approached me about helping them plan a summer program for school children. I worked with them to build the program from top to bottom,” Stephanie says. “Getting project development and management experience at Kent State gave me the confidence to take on new projects in my professional life and in my work in the community.”

Stephanie has strong ties to Kent State, as president of the Stark County Alumni Chapter. “Everyone on our board is incredibly dedicated to Kent State and connecting alumni across Stark County,” Stephanie says.

Stephanie hopes to continue giving back to her community in every way possible and to inspire others to do so as well. She plans to start other Kindness Coalition chapters across the state and “make the world a kinder place one community at a time.”


POSTED: Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 11:52am
UPDATED: Friday, January 31, 2020 - 9:58am
Lindsey Vlasic