Personality: Rosa A. Jiggetts

Spotlight on mission to proclaim ‘Be Kind Wednesdays’

2/6/2015, 11:42 a.m.
Rosa Annie Jiggetts is always ready to help. Her idea of a perfect day is one in which she can ...

Rosa Annie Jiggetts is always ready to help.

Her idea of a perfect day is one in which she can do at least one good deed.

For the past 30 years, the 65-year-old Richmond native has run the Helpline out of her Providence Park home on North Side, with the assistance of her sister, Lydia.

The Jiggetts take calls from people needing advice or a kind word.

They also get calls from desperate people seeking help with unpaid utility bills, worried people facing eviction or anxious people seeking a companion for an elderly family member.

The response to such calls is always the same: “Let me see what I can do.”

And often she will come up with a solution for the problem — whether it’s money or a place to stay or helpful information. She also has been a volunteer extraordinaire for people- helping groups such as Boaz & Ruth on North Side that offers jobs and hope to people seeking to start over after release from incarceration.

Her enthusiasm and spirit are among the reasons she was honored as the state’s Outstanding Volunteer in 2004 by then-Gov. Mark R. Warner.

Thus, the retired nurse who began providing in-home hospice care in Richmond more than 35 years ago brings plenty of credentials to her latest venture — to boost the amount of kindness in the world.

She’s on a quest to have every Wednesday do double duty as “Be Kind Wednesday.”

Ms. Jiggetts has started an online petition drive on Facebook asking people to join her in urging President Obama to proclaim Be Kind Wednesdays.

She also has contacted the United Nations about the project and now is working to get a Be Kind Wednesdays proclamation on the U.N. General Assembly’s agenda.

In her view, the world would be a better place if people took time to smile at strangers or to offer a helping hand to others — at least one day a week.

She believes that if the kindness approach became ingrained, fewer people would wind up behind bars for committing what she calls “unkind acts” and fewer children would be suspended from school for misbehavior.

Ms. Jiggetts already has made a start on creating Be Kind Wednesdays. Last year, Richmond City Council approved a resolution that designates Wednesday as a day for residents “to do something kind for a friend or a stranger, to give generously and donate to a good cause, to be kind to family or to reach out to someone having a hard time or a bad day.” She also is using the Be Kind slogan to undertake other proj- ects, including asking people to give her their mothballed musical instruments so she can donate them to Richmond’s elementary schools.

Now she’s seeking 20,000 signatures on the petition for the president to spread the concept across the country. Ms. Jiggetts says she is just following in the footsteps of her late father, Forrest Jiggets Sr., who operated a market in the Washington Park community.