I think it’s a safe bet to assume one of the things that makes a city great is people treating each other well, am I right? The story I’d like to share today, though personal in nature – is one I believe to be relevant here on FresYes first, because I think we all enjoy a happy story we can feel good about but also because I think if a local teacher and her students can start a movement for kindness here in Fresno, I think we should totally get behind that, share the story and help it grow! Fresno, CA – “recognized as kindest City in America” – that would be awesome, don’t you think?
Last year, my son was lucky enough to have a truly amazing teacher for first grade. She taught all of the typical academic subjects and taught them well – but beyond that – she focused a great deal of energy toward teaching her students to be kind to one another and everyone they encounter. Each student was challenged to complete 10 Random Acts of Kindness as part of their homework to become an official member of the “Kind Kids Club.” The Kind Kids Club made superhero capes for their kindergarten school mates and dropped surprise treats on neighbor’s doorsteps.
After the Club was formed, the students wanted to take on a bigger task and decided to have a drive for baby toys, books and items for the babies at Valley Children’s Hospital. The school and families rallied around the effort and hundreds of items were collected and Valley Children’s honored the student’s efforts with a very special visit from Air George – the hospital helicopter. Hospital CEO Todd Suntrapak came to encourage the students to continue being kind to others always and pass it on the local t.v. news came out to highlight the event.
The kids were over-the-moon thrilled to have a helicopter land at their school and to be able to help load their donated items for transport to the hospital. The club even won a contest hosted by the national Random Acts of Kindness Foundation who sent a team of videographers to capture the students’ message of kindness. (View the video here)
The school year did eventually come to an end, however the efforts to go out of the way to be kind to others and a desire to continue the Kind Kids Club did not. So, to answer to this, the amazing teacher started an after-school club that meets once a month, focusing on the next act of kindness the students want to make happen. Before Christmas, club members sent cards to six-year-old Addie, a Utah girl dying from an undiagnosed illness whose family requested Christmas cards so their daughter could feel everyone’s love.
This month, the Kind Kids Club decided to once again go to work for the good of patients at Valley Children’s Hospital – only this time, focusing on gathering items for older children, ages 7-12 to create gift bags for. The Club received some cash donations from supporters to be used for the drive and my friend and I (as Kind Kid mamas) had the great honor of escorting 4 Kind Kids to Target to select toys for the drive.
It was really fun to watch the kids work to think about what others might want vs. what they want. It’s not easy to think that way when you’re 6, 7 and 8. If you’re a parent, reading this, thinking this is something that comes easily and naturally to kids but not yours, don’t worry -this is a learned skill set! Putting others first and being able to dream up acts of kindness to commit is a discovery process that takes special teachers and parents (and grandparents and neighbors and friends!) to support. One of the greatest hopes of the Kind Kids Club is that others will be kind and pass it on or even start their own kindness clubs.
So, if you’d like to help start a Kind Kids Club, here are some great resources to start with:
- Free downloadable packet to teach kids about kindness/join a kindness club
- Free lesson plans from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
- 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge
And, if you’d like to help the Kind Kids Club of Starr Elementary with their toy drive for Valley Children’s Hospital – please feel free to email me personally for information on how to donate through February 28th. Thank you!
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