Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness
From Kennesaw Mountain High School - Note: This paper was put together for a specific school in metro Atlanta. You could adapt it to be put on your school's Website or handed out to your teachers.
"Small things done with great love will change the world." (Steve Sjogren)
Dr. Janice Cohn, Chief of Consultation and Education at the Department of Psychiatry, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, notes that one of the proven keys for developing compassion in children is to give them "frequent opportunities to perform small acts of kindness." (Raising Compassionate, Courageous Children, in a Violent World, p. 35). Once students experience the satisfying feeling that accompanies acts of compassion, they may be hooked for life! Here are some ideas to make it work:
Tips for Teachers and Administrators
Give teachers a couple of month's advance notice so that they can get ideas from their classes. Many students or teachers may have contacts or know of community needs beyond the ideas you provide.
Allow students to come up with their own ideas and to plan the activity. The more ownership they feel, the more responsible they feel to make it happen.
Give teachers a reminder a few weeks prior to the "Kindness" or "Compassion" focus.
Ask all teachers to run their decisions through you to make sure their "Acts" aren't overlapping and to keep the same community leaders from being bombarded with calls from many teachers.
Consider the advantages of letting each class choose any date during the school year, rather than all on the same month. The month or week designated for the character quality (for example, "Kindness," "Compassion" or "Service") could be used to inspire, decide on an event, and prepare for it.
Advantage #1 - Reports of "Acts of Kindness" done early in the school year provide motivation for those doing theirs later in the year.
Advantage #2 - Some "Acts of Kindness," such as visiting residents of a Nursing Home, could be done by many classes if spread out over the school year. Why have all students in an entire school system trying to find service opportunities all at once?
Ideas for Acts of Kindness
Specific Ideas for Cobb County
Ideas from Marlon Longacre, local Businessmen's Council:
- Shop With a Hero in December. (Take needy children on a shopping spree.)
- Tackle Hunger in November: we need food cans.
- Adopt schools in the South Cobb area that have the most free and reduced lunches (e.g., Green Acres Elementary, Belmont Hills.) I can bet that their nurses stations needs supplies. See what Allatoona Elementary needs. I've heard they need school supplies.
- Do something kind for the teachers at Kennesaw Mountain.
- Students could serve the lunchroom line.
- Clean up around the Mountain.
- Help Coach Jones with the football team. Maybe the students would appreciate their school a lot better.
- Tutor younger students.
- Involve some of the pre-existing school clubs, for example, the Art Club could do an art workshop for kids in a government housing project. The Robotics Club could do a presentation in a Middle School science class. Service clubs could organize and coordinate some special service activities for individual classes.
- Pick up trash at a specific strip of road. (Make sure to bring bright orange warning vests and not put students in danger.) Pick up trash in state park areas, for example, Lake Allatoona when the water's down. Ask the principal what the school needs none - plant flowers, rake leaves, etc.
- Schedule a Saturday morning "Breakfast Club" with donuts, etc. for everyone who shows up - or go out for breakfast together afterwards.
- Bring flowers for the lunch room ladies or make a card for them.
- Volunteer at a Red Cross Blood Drive - register people, hand out cookies and juice.
- Projects that worked in the past: Flag to Honor Veterans.
For hundreds of other ideas for Acts of Kindness, check out these sites: