Meet the Judges of the America's Kindest Families Contest

Here at Parents, we’re so inspired by families who have stepped up to care for others that we’re holding a contest to feature one such family on our cover. Meet our panel of guest judges who are all outspoken advocates for doing good and helping others. We’re especially thrilled that we’ll be teaming up with NBC News’s Today show this fall to reveal the winning family’s cover.

01 of 07

Craig Melvin

Craig Melvin
Courtesy of Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Today; dad to Delano, 7, and Sybil, 4

Family Kindness Motto: If the siblings are engaged in an act that's not so nice, we'll say, "Del, are you being kind to Sibby?" Or "Sibby, are you being kind to Del?" If Del is trying to one-up his sister or diminish something she's done, I'll say, "Son, don't steal your sister's sunshine." So those are two popular sayings in our house.

Favorite Cause: The Colorectal Cancer Alliance, because my older brother lost his battle with the disease in December. I promised him that I would make it part of my life's work to be sure other young Black men, especially, didn't die prematurely of colon cancer.

02 of 07

Dylan Dreyer

Dylan Dreyer
Courtesy of Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Today; mom to Calvin, 4, and Oliver, 1

Family Kindness Motto: We're building foundations of kindness: "please" and "thank you," looking someone in the eye when you say hello. Every time Calvin does this, we say his "kindness spot" is growing, and he's so proud of himself.

Favorite Cause: The Challenged Athletes Foundation, because my brother is an amputee and I've seen firsthand how being active has helped him both physically and mentally. Children with physical challenges need to see that they can actively participate in sports and in life.

03 of 07

Shenelle Jones

Sheinelle Jones
Courtesy of Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Today; mom to Kayin, 11, and twins Clara and Uche, 8

Family Kindness Motto: I emphasize that kindness starts at home. It starts when you wake up and say "good morning" to each other and are kind to your siblings.

Favorite Cause: My kids love donating clothes and books; we've done so through a neighborhood church and Goodwill. They also do a "service day" each spring where they pick a project like volunteering at a senior center. It's heartwarming.

04 of 07

Al Roker

Al Roker
Courtesy of Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC

Today; dad to Courtney, 33, Leila, 22, and Nick, 18

Family Kindness Motto: Listen to one another. And try to know when you need to say "sorry."

Favorite Cause: Citymeals on Wheels, because what is more basic than helping someone get a hot meal and have human interaction? We also support ADAPT Community Network for the way it provides programs and services for folks with disabilities.

05 of 07

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell
Courtesy of Ricky Middlesworth

Actor and coauthor of The World Needs More Purple People; mom to Lincoln, 7, and Delta, 6

Family Kindness Motto: We have a print hanging in our hall that reads, "Work hard and be nice to people." We believe adhering to that combination of values is a guaranteed way to raise self-esteem and rest easy at night.

Favorite Cause: Many! I was named a Global Advocate for the Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund, and I support No Kid Hungry, which gets meals to schoolkids.

06 of 07

Benjamin Hart

Benjamin Hart
Courtesy of Benjamin Hart

Designer and coauthor of The World Needs More Purple People; dad to Stella, 12, and Truman, 9

Family Kindness Motto: My wife and I tell our kids, "Learn as many names and stories as you can, and that will make your world bigger and better." True kindness is not just being polite. It's rooted in empathy.

Favorite Cause: I support PATH L.A., which works to end homelessness for individuals, families, and communities.

07 of 07

Angela C. Santomero

Angela C. Santomero
Courtesy of Angela C. Santomero

Creator of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood; mom to Hope, 20, and Ella, 17

Family Kindness Motto: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible," attributed to the Dalai Lama. I wrote the book Radical Kindness about seeing with your heart versus your eyes. There's power in empathy, understanding, and leaning in.

Favorite Cause: Make-a-Wish Foundation of America, granting wishes to kids who are battling a critical illness.

There's Still Time to Enter Our Cover Contest!

Tell us in 300 words or less about the kindest family you know. Or nominate yours! Include a photo (and a short video if you'd like). One winning family will receive $10,000 and appear on a Parents cover. Three runner-up families will win $1,000 each and be featured inside the magazine. For details, visit, or hover your phone's camera over the smart code found in the Parents June 2021 issue. We're accepting entries through May 31, 2021. Special thanks to Tyson, the presenting partner of the America's Kindest Families Contest.

Disclaimer: Meredith Corporation is the sole sponsor of the contest. The Today Show and NBCUniversal Media, LLC, are not sponsors of the contest and are not associated with the administration of the contest in any way. Entrants are providing information to Meredith Corporation and not to the Today Show or NBCUniversal Media, LLC.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's June 2021 issue as "Join Us as We Celebrate Kindness." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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