Katie Steller made a choice. A choice to take action, in the form of the Steller Kindness Project.
"Steller Kindness Project was something that was created out of a time that I was struggling with a lot of depression, and it seemed like the world around me was being like self destroyed," Katie says. "Whether it was from hate crimes, whether it was from natural disasters, shootings. There were just so many things that, as a whole, the world just seemed to be in so much pain."
The owner of Steller Hair Company decided to put out a post on her Facebook and Instagram accounts asking for people to tell stories of people who have shown up in their life with a quiet act of kindness.
"I started to get nominations and people were just sending all these stories," Katie says.
She decided to show her appreciation to those people - in her way.
"The way that I show gratitude is by hair," Katie says.
She started bringing them into her salon and did anything they wanted with their hair. Cut, color, style - all of it was fair game.
She also interviewed them and posted their story online.
"I joke and say that this project is just to make friends because I met some incredible people through it," she smiles.
In addition to the Steller Kindness Project, Katie has also created Steller Connect, geared towards creating a space for people to gather and connect.
Katie was recently featured by Boyd Huppert in KARE 11's Land of 10,000 Stories for the Red Chair Project, where she drives around with a red chair and gives free haircuts to people who need them. You can watch that story here.
"When hard things happen in our life, we have a choice. It can destroy us," Katie says. "Or if you can turn it into this super power of – I’m going to use this pain in my life, I’m going to take away some of its power because I’m going to use it and I’m going to leverage it for good. I’m going to leverage it for connection and caring for people. I’m going to leverage it to help maybe just one person feel less alone."