We visit so many each month and each school is so incredible inspiring!
This month we are recognizing Vero Beach Elementary, located in Florida, as our school of the month. They achieved 7,183 acts of kindness in just 15 days. WAY TO GO!! We asked their principal, Cynthia Emerson to share with us her experience with participating in the Kindness Challenge.
Q: Why is it important to you and your school to instill kindness in today’s culture?
A: It’s important to instill kindness in today’s culture so that students have the intrinsic motivation to continue it as they move forward in the future. We feel that shaping our society by creating kind and caring individuals is one way to help improve the entire world. We truly believe one kind act can lead to a powerful ripple effect!
Q: Why did you bring Think Kindness to Vero Beach Elementary?
A: At VBE we believe your “vibe attracts your tribe.” Part of our message that we share daily is that we “inspire others.” However, the barriers are exhausting that are student face. They deal with deep generational poverty, trauma, and a mind-numbing level of obstacles. Our goal is to show them how being kind can lead to a breakthrough.
Q: What project or activities do your teachers do to create a more positive school culture?
A: We are a positive behavior support school. We are daily embracing kindness through our morning meetings, brain breaks, and “wampum” positive acknowledgement. We have built a strong partnership with the Vero Beach Elks who support our program by running a full school store, only the currency they use is earned through positive behavior following our VBE VIBE.
Q: We challenged your school to do the kindness challenge. What types of kind deeds did you see take place in your school?
A: We had a family completely embrace the challenge. They alone created a “positive message” campaign and created over 800 notes for our entire student body and staff. One of our 5th grade classes spent the morning being “sneaky ninjas” writing personalized messages on every single window of our school for the staff members. Students were caught putting sweet messages in backpacks, going out of their way to show appreciation to students and staff, and were quick to help comfort friends that were “down.”
Q: What kind of responses have you received from parents or community?
A: A school board member happened to come by during the assembly. She was so blown away by the message after conferencing with students that she posted a video of them speaking on twitter and facebook. We are super excited about the positive attention it has brought to our school.
Q: What suggestions would you have to another school taking part in the campaign to help ensure it is a ‘home run’?
A. Dive in head first! Be prepared to get the staff fully invested, the more they participate, the more the students do.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A. We loved it!
Also…. our founder, Brian Williams promised to break some bricks if they achieved their goal. Well, they broke their goal 🙂