This blog post was written by Amy Domagalski, a Fifth Grade Educator at Victory Elementary School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and 2016 Kindness Ambassador.
Three years ago, a small group of incredible third graders at Victory decided to start the Kindness Movement. They called themselves the "Kindness Krew" and wanted to figure out ways to make positive changes in our school. I thought it was a great idea, and wanted to support the students in helping spread kindness through our school.
I could never have imagined the positive outcomes that would come from this "Krew." What started as a small group of students has become a movement throughout our school. There are two reasons this has really blossomed. First, we moved away from the "Anti-Bully" movement and turned it into a "Kindness Movement." Positive words bring positive change, and we noticed this cause a HUGE shift in attitude! Second, we have allowed the children to share how they want to carry out kindness, and they have gotten incredibly creative!
Here are some of the ideas that the kids have come up with and recruited other students and faculty to participate in:
- A Kindness Bench for recess that has books about kindness inside. The children held bake sales at community events to raise the funds for the bench and books.
- Morning Kindness Announcements over the loud speaker and a school-wide kindness pledge.
- Creating Kindness Posters that hang around school.
- Sending pictures and letters and visiting a local senior citizen center near our school.
- Going on Kindness Neighborhood Walks, where students leave notes and posters about kindness in mailboxes.
- Monthly Kindness Letters to the police districts and sheriff stations in Milwaukee.
The kids even created a kindness symbol for our school! It is K= :) and they are so proud of it! Our kindness has continued to spread outside our school and through to the community. The Mayor of Milwaukee declared that May 15th is Kindness Day in the city of Milwaukee each year!
This has been an incredible transformation in our school and community. One of the biggest impacts it has had on my own life is that the students have taught me how to be kinder to myself. For this I thank them every day.
If you're interested in how you can create a culture of kindness, join the Rules of Kindness campaign with generationOn. You can start with just one of the ideas listed above, or find resources on their site. You never know how one small idea can cause a huge change in your school and community!