We love seeing the schools that we speak to put kindness into action. Recently, students at Borchardt Elementary in Lodi, California donated 340 pounds of coffee to soldiers overseas.
“The halls at Borchard school were filled with boxes of coffee last Friday. The kids have been collecting coffee for months. That day, there was a special assembly and at the end of that assembly, two soldiers from Travis Air Force Base came to pick up the coffee. The kids loaded the coffee into the car (it was a tight squeeze) and the Air Force men took it back to Travis Air Force Base.
That coffee that was collected in Lodi and that is now sitting in Fairfield at the base, will soon be sent to places like Afghanistan. American soldiers in Afghanistan will receive a care package from the U.S. and open it up to find some good ol’ coffee from home. Starbucks, Pete’s Dunkin’ Donuts, Folgers… all the good stuff that we Americans are accustomed to. The kids understood how special this coffee donation was. Gary, from Think Kindness, did a great job explaining to the kids, in a way they could understand, why it’s kind to send that coffee overseas. They understand soldiers are homesick and receiving care packages not only reminds them of home, it makes them feel loved. Gary was actually a sniper for the Marines in Afghanistan, so he doesn’t have to guess how it feels to receive these care packages. He knows because he’s been on the receiving end. Being able to share his experience is what helped these kids understand the importance. “There’s nothing like opening a package and seeing something from home,” Gary told the kids. “And adults like coffee.” These kids did an awesome thing collecting all this coffee. It wasn’t just an assignment from a speaker at an assembly, this was an empowering project for the kid. So what’s next? This story doesn’t stop at coffee. What’s next after you’ve done something great like this?
The assembly on Friday wasn’t a typical Think Kindness assembly. This was a special assembly to follow up that huge coffee donation. When the kids got to the assembly they were feeling proud and empowered (rightfully so) after their huge act of kindness. Sending coffee isn’t the first big act of kindness the kids have completed. The kids at Borchardt have sent shoes to kids in Africa so those kids could go to school. They’ve created beautification projects to keep their school in tip-top shape. They’ve sent money to victims of California wildfires and now they’ve sent coffee to soldiers serving around the world. On top of that, they’ve done thousands of small acts of kindness. So what’s next? “I’m not satisfied with just one act of kindness. What’s next?” asked Gary, speaking to a sea of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders.
“The biggest fear we all have is that we’re not good enough and we don’t belong. This is my challenge to you. How do we make everyone in this school not feel alone? How do we do that?”Gary Xavier
Before the assembly, Mrs. Sotelo told me Gary would be talking to the kids about how they can be kind every day, but I didn’t expect the assembly to be so profound. I thought Gary was going to talk to kids about being kind by picking up after themselves. Nope. This assembly was going deep and focusing on a huge fear we all have: being alone. Kids deal with this too. This was Gary’s challenge to the students. He spent the assembly talking to the kids about how we’re all unique, we all have a different set of experiences, and we’re all powerful. Plus, he actually gave the kids the tools and training on how to reach out to meet new people, like a new student who might not have any friends yet, and how to have a meaningful conversation with that new person.