Worcester the Epicenter of World Smile Day
Friday, October 05, 2012
The festivities are sponsored by Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation.
The Shepherd Hill Regional High School marching band will open the day with a musical performance. This will be followed by a performance by the Worcester Seven Hills Charter School Chorus, singing songs honoring World Smile Day, the city of Worcester, and the iconic Smiley Face the day was inspired by.
Beginning in 1999, the idea for the special day was thought up by Harvey Ball, the creator of the now world famous Smiley Face icon and logo. The Worcester native and graduate of the city's South High School initially designed the Smiley in 1963 for the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester (now known as Hanover Insurance) in order to boost company morale.
Soon, however, the symbol became a marketing and commercial juggernaut; Ball regretted this fact, fearing people were forgetting the initial purpose of his design and, as a result, wanted there to be one day a year devoted to the inherent goodness of "smiles", both the kindness they represent and the happiness they can bring to others. Ball's beloved home city would be the epicenter of this new special and important day.
After Ball's death in 2001, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was created to honor his name and memory, and took charge of organizing and sponsoring World Smile Day, carrying on the mission of the day expressed in the motto, "Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile." The current Managing Trustee of the Foundation is Harvey Ball's son, Charles Ball. He will be delivering a short keynote address during the day.
Indeed, smiles will be brought to the faces of people of all ages when jugglers, clowns, and the ringmaster from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus show up to perform around lunch time (Unfortunately the circus elephants will not be able to make an appearance as was originally planned). In addition, free Smiley Face merchandise will be being handed out to attendees throughout the day.
However, the overall purpose of the day cannot simply be expressed in one location in a two and a half hour time span. Each individual person is encouraged to do an act of kindness or honor someone for doing the same. The Ball Foundation is making this easy by allowing people to email "You've Been Smiled" e-certificates to family, friends or co-workers from the World Smile Day website, hoping to bring smiles to the faces of those lucky enough to receive the special treat. In addition, if the intended recipient of the certificate lives or works within Worcester city limits, people are encouraged to submit his or her name online so the Foundation's Smile Ambassadors can deliver the certificate in person.
On September 27, Worcester City Manager Michael O' Brien received the ultimate Smiley Certificate winning the Worcester Historical Museum's annual Harvey Ball Smile Award. The prize was awarded at Worcester Historical Museum's Harvey Ball 2012, an annual celebration of Worcester's past, present, and future done in tandem with World Smile Day.
WHM executive director William Wallace explains why everyone smiled on September 27.
"The Harvey Ball Smile Award celebrates Worcester and no one has shown a greater commitment to the city than Michael O'Brien."
O'Brien is being recognized for revitalizing Worcester's urban center through various development projects.
Brian W. Thompson, President and CEO of Commerce Bank, the lead Worcester sponsor of Harvey Ball 2012, explains the award in connection to the greater mission of Harvey Ball and World Smile Day.
"Mike exemplifies the ideals represented by Harvey Ball's creation of the iconic smiley face, and he has truly made a difference in Worcester through his outstanding leadership."
Indeed, we all hope to exemplify the ideals represented by that simple yet profound symbol of happiness, kindness and good will, and hope to use these important qualities to make Worcester and the world a better place. That is the ultimate message the Harvey Ball Smile Foundation wants to get across with the celebration that is World Smile Day.
For more information on World Smile Day, click here.