By Angie Angelopoulos
Kind·ness – /kin(d)nes/
Noun – 1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate, treating others the way you wish to be treated.
White Pine Middle School has sparked a Kindness Movement in our school, our homes, and in our community. Since the inception of the 2019-2020 school year, the student body has undertaken a new Kindness Challenge each month to complete with the help of our student lead WPMS Kindness Crew. Not only do Cougars participate in a new challenge each month, but kindness is spreading every day in their school with simple acts like, “Thank You for Being Kind” letters to others that have made a difference. This new kindness initiative is developing student learning about the science of being kind and how kindness affects personal emotional and cognitive development, increasing bullying prevention, and exponentially spreading acts of kindness in our community through helping charities and other schools in our district.
So far this year, the WPMS Kindness Movement has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. Kindness crews organized a school-wide community Unity Walk in October to celebrate Red Ribbon week and Bully Prevention month by rallying together against bullying and addiction in our community. Spreading kindness far and wide, WPMS students collected canned food for the holidays and volunteered making boxes for families in need at the Food Bank. DEN hosted the WPMS Kindness Crew as middle school students taught a lesson on being a Hero and what kindness traits our heroes exhibit. The Kindness Crew wrapped Angel Tree presents, baked confections and treats for a bake-sale with proceeds going towards the Angel Tree; and made sugar-free candy to take to the Care Center, where they sang songs and made crafts with residents.
Everyday, WPMS students have a new Kindness quote to start the morning announcements and Infinite Campus, such as the ancient Greek storyteller Aseop’s wise words, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Everyday, this Kindness Movement is helping to teach our students what kindness means, looks like, feels like, sounds like, and why it is needed.
While we may not have control over another person, we do have control over ourselves. Students are exploring what it means to be our best selves, asking introspective questions like, Isn’t being kind in the mix of choices we have each and every day? These middle schoolers are accepting that we can’t make anyone else be kind, but that doesn’t stop us from aspiring to be kind, no matter what. Studies have shown that when we do acts of kindness, we feel happier. We also become kinder with daily practice.
Since starting the Kindness Movement this year, WPMS office data trackings show that office referrals and reports of bullying have decreased. As you walk into our school, you will find that kindness is our mission and we are taking action to build and keep a school community founded on being kinder to one another by doing acts of kindness, daily. Kindness is lasting; and in a world that is all too often growing less kind, our school and our community will be the exception and the example.