Are you trying to decide what to give to that special person for Valentine’s Day? Why not offer an unexpected good deed and support the D.G. Cooley Elementary student Peace Committee as it launches Random Acts of Kindness Week.
“RAK helps you to make friends” – Alexa, 2nd Grade
“If you are kind to someone it shows them that you care and that you can be a good friend” – Tori, 4th grade
“RAK makes the world a better place – I like that everyone will get a message of kindness during RAK week” – Liam, 5th Grade
“I started the Peace Committee in an effort to help students become aware of diversity, acceptance and treating everyone with kindness and respect,” said D.G. Cooley Elementary School Counselor Tina M. Johnston. “The group is comprised of fifth grade peace ambassadors who are responsible for getting the word out to other students at Cooley. I also have a parent peace committee.”
Johnston says that while she believes Cooley’s Random Acts of Kindness Week offers the chance to emphasize the importance of kindness, her hope is that this awareness will spill over into the other fifty-one weeks of the year.
“RAK makes me feel good to be kind” – Tasha, 5th Grade
“Everyone should take care of each other” – Monaja, 3rd Grade
“Because of RAK I am helping everybody” – Brandon, 3rd Grade
Johnston’s local effort takes its lead from the National Random Acts of Kindness Week sponsored by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, established in 1995 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation offers resources for people committed to spreading kindness and provides a wide variety of materials on its website, including ideas for kind actions, ideas for educators and schools, activities and lesson plans, inspirational quotations, videos and workplace resources free of charge. (http://www.randomactsofkindness.org)
“In celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week we will be joining hundreds of other schools and communities around the world,” Johnston said. “This â€˜global-warming’ event is 16 years old in some communities and is becoming a household word. Its appeal can be attributed to its simplicity and to the spirit of hope and goodwill inherent in the week.”
“RAK gives you a chance to think about making sure you are kind” – Kaycee, 4th Grade
“When you are kind to someone they become kind and then you like them more and more!”
“RAK makes you feel good and it makes them feel good and it can spread” – Sarah, 5th Grade
In addition to students and parents, Johnston has enlisted the assistance of local artist and Cooley student parent, Diane Harrison in developing a website: KidsWorkingforPeace.org -to feature the peace committee and its projects.
Johnston’s peace project will culminate in a “peace rally” planned for the end of the school year. The big event will feature a video recording of all of the events that the Cooley Elementary community has participated in throughout the school year beginning with Random Acts of Kindness Week.
Johnston said that her peace committee is a group of fifth grade students who are dedicated to spreading the word about kindness, acceptance, and diversity. The students will do this by making posters about diversity, reading to the younger children and the big event that they will plan for the year is a peace rally.
The Cooley effort uses activities designed to motivate students to get involved, harvesting and sharing the benefits of kind actions in their daily lives and society. At Cooley, Johnston said students have been working all week to make bookmarks and plan other random acts of kindness that can be done in their school community. Peace Committee students plan to set up a workshop in the Cooley lobby so that all students can stop by and send a note of kindness to someone in the school. Additionally, everyone in the school will receive a special note during the coming Random Acts of Kindness Week. The Student Council will also put together “goody bags” that will magically appear on the desks of teachers.
“When you do something nice for somebody it makes them feel good and then you feel good, too” – Cynthia
“RAK helps people know they are loved and it helps people get along” – Jennifer, 3rd Grade
“I like Random Acts of Kindness because everyone is being kind” – Jenna, 3rd Grade
“Inside each goody bag there will be a note requesting that the teacher ‘pay forward’ a kind deed,” Johnston said. “The Peace Committee will gift each student a pencil with a note on it to pay the kind deed forward. We’re hoping that this will spread throughout the school community and into the homes of the students and then out into the community. The students will report back some of the kind things they and their families have done.”
Johnston said that kindness acts come in many varieties.
“Whether it’s kindness to oneself, kindness to the Earth, or kindness to others, know that each act, no matter how small, makes a difference and contributes to making our world a better place,” Johnson said.
Johnston believes that the success of Cooley’s peace program will be enhanced if students and parents reinforce the message of kindness with each other. As part of the learning process Johnston has asked parents to take time during the week to talk to their child about kindness.
“Celebrate and focus on their acts of kindness, share your stories of kindness you have given and received,” Johnston asked in a note sent home to each student’s parent. “Perhaps you’ll come up with your own unique family project for the week. We’d love to hear about it and invite our students to share these good stories at school. Encourage your child to write down something that he/she has done this week. I have provided hearts on the table in the front lobby to be used for this. They will be hung on our kindness tree!”
“Children believe they can change the world,” Johnston said. “Let’s help to show them that they are absolutely right!”