Amery second-grade students have been running a kindness campaign in hopes their thoughtfulness will spread like wildfire across the community.
Second grade instructors Jen Melberg, Lynette Wentz, Clare Halverson, Jennifer Komanec and Brittney Miller gave a presentation on the project as part of the “Spotlight on Education” portion of December’s meeting of the Board of Education.
Melberg explained she came across a website listing 10 random acts of kindness and shared it with some of her students last year. One of her students starting writing letters to both people she knew well and as well aquaintances, wishing them well and asking them to spread kindness.
At the end of the 2018/2019 school year, some of the second-grade students used brightly colored chalk and wrote positive wishes on the sidewalks in front of Lien Elementary for their classmates to view as they journeyed off to summer vacation.
Melberg saw that another school’s first-graders had a Kindness Club and she and her fellow teachers agreed this was something that should be implemented into their second grade classrooms in Amery.
Their mission is to spread kindness throughout the school, in their families and community. Each month the second-graders participate in different acts of kindness, some big gestures and some small. The instructors feel the importance is that their students understand how it feels when they do a kind deed without getting something in return.
When asked what kindness meant to them, one second-grader answered, “If it is a big deal or a small deal, you always need to help.” Another kept her sentiments quite simple when she added, “Kindness is spreading joy.”
They have been reading books with messages of kindness and have done various projects including writing random positive notes and posting them on lockers of schoolmates, decorating kindness bookmarks, brushing snow off cars and painting Rocks of Encouragement. These rocks were small stones decorated by the children with affirmations of goodwill. They placed them in various areas around town to be found by people during the Amery Fall Festival weekend.
During “Socktober” students collected socks for people who were in need of them. Another project was their assistance to the Amery High School FCCLA with Military Care Packages. Donations were made from all families at Lien Elementary School. 32 total boxes were sent to troops overseas. Eight of those boxes were sent to Lien family members. One student said her favorite part of assisting with packages was “putting the toothpaste, the mouthwash and the food in there to help them survive.”
Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. They have received thanks from a local business owner who found a rock and family members have noticed a difference at home as their students have been more willing to lend a helping hand. They have been hearing back from soldiers with thankfulness for receiving the notes and packages. An Amery resident said she has noticed kids holding the door for her. The teachers say they love that the word is spreading and kindness is getting passed on.
Wentz said, “The kids are talking, they are using vocabulary, they are practicing kindness and when they practice it, they learn it and are making new habits and we are truly seeing that in lots of different ways.”
The pupils want to send out the message to “Be kind and pass it on.” They are all excited to continue to spread the joy. One young lady shared she intends to keep smiling at everyone she sees. Another said, “Even after second grade, I will still put money in the red kettle.”