Sometimes, a small act of kindness or even a word of encouragement can make a world of difference.
That’s the message that the students at Kohlberg Elementary and other schools in the El Paso Independent School District are learning this week during the Great Kindness Challenge.
The challenge is a proactive and positive bullying prevention initiative that improves school climate and increases student engagement by organizing ways for students to perform as many acts of kindness as possible on campus during a week-long period.
Kohlberg kicked off their week-long celebrations by having guests come out and form a human tunnel through which every student walked. After that parade, the students lined up in the shape of a heart to signal their commitment to kindness.
The Great Kindness Challenge is 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. What started organically as a neighborhood group of kids wanting to make the world a better place, has grown into an interconnected network of young peace-builders worldwide.
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. According to their website, “Because of our innovative approach and wildly successful results, word spread, and a kindness movement was born.”
Officials add “At the heart of The Great Kindness Challenge is the simple belief that kindness is strength. We also believe that as an action is repeated, a habit is formed. With the Great Kindness Challenge checklist in hand, students have the opportunity to repeat kind act after kind act. As kindness becomes a habit, peace becomes possible.”
The week-long celebrations included dress up days and other events aimed at promoting positive learning behavior and overall kindness among students and adults.