West End teen’s suicide prompts kindness movement

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Christopher's Angels honors the memory and life of Christopher Sims. (PHOTO: Jany Sims)

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — When Christopher Sims, a 14-year-old Henrico boy, died by suicide two years ago, it left a family and an entire community off kilter, searching for answers. For months afterwards, his twin brother, Alexander, listened to their mother describe how she wished something positive might come from the tragedy.

So Alexander Sims, a junior at Mills E. Godwin High School, decided to create a kindness program to combat bullying and teen suicide. He named it “Christopher’s Angels” (in honor of his brother) and launched it Feb. 9 – on the second anniversary of Christopher’s death.

Alexander Sims’ program is divided into two parts: The Core Angels and The Mentor Angels.

On the 22nd of each month, Core Angels everywhere participate in and promote “Christopher’s Angels’ Random Good Deeds and Kindness Days.” The only requirement of participants is that they perform one act of kindness, which can be as minimal as holding a door open or smiling at a stranger. During these days, the Angels also will attempt to speak out against bullying.

The idea is that if someone can manage being kind for a moment, or a day, then he or she should be able to be kind every other day, as well. Anyone can become a Core Angel by subscribing to an e-mail list through the website, and a single reminder e-mail will be sent out on the 21st of each month.

“I just want to get the message across that anyone can be a part of it, and anyone can make the world a better place,” Alexander Sims said.

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