“Everyone can have an impact on someone, even if it’s just one person.”
This year, Brookwood School launched a brand-new club with the goal of bringing more kindness to the school and the world. The Kindness Club, founded by Julie Fischer, a teacher at the school, brings students in 2ndthrough 5th grade together for acts of kindness. The club meets once a week after school.
The idea for the club came to Fischer when she began to think of ways to spread kindness.
"I just realized, kindness is a thing that we need more of in the world today," Fischer said.
After receiving funding from the Dalton Education Foundation, Fischer opened up the club, uncertain of how students would respond. After the first meeting, eighteen students joined the club and they began brainstorming ways to share kindness with the rest of the school.
"I let the students take the direction," Fischer said. "I had some ideas, and I offered them some ideas, but they came up with a list of things that we might want to do. Now we're just working through that list."
The club's first target was Brookwood's hardworking teachers.
"We gave a checklist to all the Brookwood teachers about being kind to themselves," Fischer said. "If we don't take care of ourselves, we can't help others."
Next they delivered handwritten notes of encouragement to the staff and shared snacks and encouraging posters with local law enforcement. For Valentine's Day, they're delivering handmade paper flowers and cards to a nursing home.
The week of January 27 -31 the group participated in the nationwide Great Kindness Challenge, a grassroots movement to cultivate kindness in schools and communities. For the challenge, they encouraged students at Brookwood to complete different acts of kindness every day.
"During the daily announcements, they're saying what the act of kindness is, we picked one for each day of the week," Fischer said. "Then there's an inspirational quote that they're reading every day on the announcements."
Acts of kindness included opening the door for someone, smiling at 25 people, saying good morning to 10 people and thanking a teacher or custodian. At the end of the week, the whole school surprised teachers with a flash-mob "happy dance."
Fifth-grade student Thea Maret said she likes how the club helps her to be kinder.
"I'm in fifth grade this year so I just want to be more kind and be a role model," Maret said.
Fischer said she hopes the students in the club learn that, no matter what their age or position in the school, they can make a difference with kindness.
"Everyone can have an impact on someone, even if it's just one person," Fischer said. "Random acts of kindness can make someone's day, no matter how small. I just think we need a lot more kindness in our world. If we teach them now how to be kind, then hopefully they'll carry that into the world."