EMS students joined the nationwide Great Kindness Challenge, January 23-27. The proactive bullying prevention program believes that “as kindness becomes a habit, peace becomes possible,” and students can help create a culture of kindness in their schools.
Elementary students participated through their peacebuiliding classes, taught by Becky Long. Each grade had a lesson that touched on kindness to others, kindness to self, and/or random acts of kindness.
“Kindness is one of those circumstances where everybody wins,” reflect Long at the end of the week. “Both the giver and the receiver benefit from the interaction.”
Kindergarten students talked about kindness to self and enjoyed a healthy snack. First grade students worked to build awareness by making and posting kindness matters posters around the school. Second grade students made cards for dining hall staff as part of their effort to be kind to others. And third grade students focused on acts of service, picking up trash around campus.
Fourth and fifth grade students collaborated on random acts of kindness by creating and delivering unexpected treats to middle and high school teachers and staff in the upper building.
The high school WeServe committee got involved as well by delivering Greenberries coffee and hot tea to teachers and staff, along with hand written notes of appreciation, on Thursday afternoon. WeServe plans monthly activities throughout the year to serve others in the school and community as part of their collaboration with Harrisonburg-Rockingham Rotary Interact program.
“It’s been fun seeing how excited students are to be kind,” said Long. “Planning, preparing, and then doing the simple acts got the students focused on making others feel good. That made them feel good, and that’s a lesson I hope they’ll take to heart and want to repeat many times over, at school and at home.”
The Great Kindness Challenge is presented by Kids for Peace, a global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Kids for Peace was co-founded in 2006 by Danielle Gram, a high school honors student and Jill McManigal, a mother and former elementary school teacher. The program is supported by donations from foundations and sponsors who believe in youth and in the power of positive action.