Barranca Mesa Elementary School Student Council members Mia Larsen, 6th grade, and Chloe Coffey, 6th grade greet students with kindness as they arrive at school. Photo by Pamela Miller
Aspen Elementary School sixth graders made a “Kindness Bulletin Board” as part of the Great Kindness Challenge. Photo by Kimberly Pulliam
Ainsley Steck, 5th grade, reminds everyone that ‘kindness is loving people more than they deserve’. Photo by Pamela Miller
Fourth grader Jacoby Davila encourages classmates to ‘throw kindness around like confetti.” Photo by Pamela Miller
LAPS NEWS RELEASE
The Great Kindness Challenge is underway this week at schools nationwide and Los Alamos Public Schools students and staff are joining in. Barranca Elementary students greeted students with messages about kindness as they arrived at school this morning.
“In times of great uncertainty and change, small acts of kindness can go a long way to making someone’s day better,” said Kristine Coblentz, LAPS Director of Healthy Schools. “More importantly, these kind gestures help build positive school culture and create the sense of belonging that is the number one protective factor for our students, buffering them from risk and unhealthy behaviors.”
According to its website (https://thegreatkindnesschallenge.com/), “The Great Kindness Challenge is proudly 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. In 2011, the elementary school that Jill’s children attended asked Kids for Peace to help create a more positive, unified and respectful school environment. As a result, The Great Kindness Challenge was designed and piloted with three Carlsbad, California schools. Because of our innovative approach and wildly successful results, word spread, and a kindness movement was born. At the heart of The Great Kindness Challenge is the simple belief that kindness is strength.”
Students are challenged to engage in acts of kindness, such as complimenting others, decorating hearts and sharing them with friends and family, or just saying thank you to a teacher, librarian, bus driver or custodian.
At Aspen Elementary, students received “The Great Kindness Checklist” and a “Kindness Matters” pencil. They will be working-on doing the acts of kindness on their checklists throughout the week. “There’s a 6th grade team of students who are promoting this week by making posters and announcements,” explained School Counselor Kim Pulliam, “and they are also reading books about kindness to the Kindergarten classrooms.”
At the end of the week, the 6th grade team will randomly select a few of the returned “Kindness Checklists,” and those students will receive a small “Kindness Matters” prize.
While the Great Kindness Challenge Week ends this year on Friday, students are encouraged to practice kindness throughout the year. As quoted by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.”
Families can participate, not just this week but year round, by downloading the Kind Acts Checklist which includes numerous ideas for expressing appreciation, spending quality time together, and strengthening community connections.
Photo 2: Fourth grader Jacoby Davita encourages classmates to “throw kindness around like confetti.” Photo by Pamela Miller
Photo 4: Aspen Elementary sixth graders made a “Kindness Bulletin Board” as part of the Great Kindness Challenge. Photo by Kimberly Pulliam