Jamie Knight wants to inspire Nanaimo to give a little kindness to strangers.
The 32-year-old, who grew up in Malaysia, relocated from Vancouver to Nanaimo with her husband and two children in October with plans to settle down and relax. But relaxing didn't last long before she was inspired to organize projects for the community.
In fact, it only took Knight two months before she met locals who motivated her to create.
"We wanted to be close to family and have a nice place to raise our kids," she explained.
"I thought I would just relax on the Island instead of starting something new, but I've met so many great people and have all these amazing projects I want to get started in Nanaimo."
Some Nanaimo residents might already recognize Knight as organizer of the city's first Fashion's Night Out in June.
She now runs a video marketing company called 120 West Productions, under which she plans to organize "pay it forward" campaigns and even a "free hug day."
"The more people I met in Nanaimo the more I felt like this, as a town, could be more [inclusive]," she said.
"Just more of that community spirit where people are doing these really nice things for everyone, not because they necessarily know the other person but because they love where they live, and they just want it to be a really nice happy place instead of, you know... grumpy, angry, people yelling out of their cars."
Knight said she ultimately wants to create a video campaign encouraging Nanaimoites to do things like buy coffee for the person behind them in line or leave kind notes for strangers.
But before she starts that, she is planning the "free hug day" event to get people in the spirit.
It will take place on the afternoon Sept. 14 in Maffeo Sutton Park, where a flash mob will give hugs to strangers.
Knight currently resides in Stephenson Point with her husband James, twoyear-old son Greyson and four-year-old daughter Vesper.
© Copyright 2013