The Middle School Kindness Challenge allowed our staff at Kernodle Middle School in Greensboro, N.C., to teach kindness through a series of thoughtful lessons that we could easily incorporate into existing lesson plans. Our goal was to instill kindness in our students with the hope it would transfer over to our families and the community.
During the 30-day challenge, students and staff teamed up for activities rooted in caring and generosity. As part of “Sock-Tober,” we collected 747 pairs of socks for the Urban Ministry to help people in need. One student’s family who works for a local clothing company supplied several large boxes of not only new socks, but also leggings and tights to help people stay warm this winter.
In November, our students collected food items to provide Thanksgiving meals to five families.
“Doing the challenge and collecting food for people who couldn’t afford to have a Thanksgiving meal felt nice and made me happy. It made me want to do more to help more people in need.” – Riley L., 8th grade
It was so heartwarming in the morning to see student after student getting out of their cars or off the bus carrying in bags of new socks for the homeless and boxes of canned food goods for families to have a nice Thanksgiving meal.
As teachers, we only get to be with our students for a short period of time. By teaching them about kindness and empathy, we can truly make a difference in their lives and assist in creating outstanding young adults who help contribute to a better future. It’s extremely rewarding to watch these young students grow and learn to be conscious and aware of others’ feelings.
The Middle School Kindness Challenge changed our school in a tremendous way. Students were more cooperative in class and interacted more positively with peers. I even noticed small gestures in the hallway – for example, if a student dropped their books, numerous students would stop and help them instead of walking past and ignoring them. Students began seeking out opportunities to be kind and show they care about others.
“Students are coming up to me and asking if they can start initiatives to help others, such as with a food drive, raise change for others, or collecting coats.” – Principal Thea McHam
It was powerful to watch our entire school work toward a common goal. Every school should accept the Middle School Kindness Challenge. Even if it only helps one person, isn’t it worth it?