Students from Pitt Meadows Elementary visited local officers to say thank-you for their service during Real Acts of Caring week. (Nichole Van Sickle – Special to The NEWS)

Elementary students are hoping the city will recognize Real Acts of Caring week

Pitt Meadows students participate in Real Acts of Caring week

Several young superheros have been patrolling Pitt Meadows this week in an effort to blanket the city with kindness.

Students from Pitt Meadows Elementary participated in Real Acts of Caring week lead by their teacher Nichole Van Sickle, a campaign the group is hoping city council will officially recognize.

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“It means doing something kind for another without expecting anything in return,” she explained.

In January, the group of five to seven year olds started by presenting their idea of declaring Feb. 9 to 15 the official Real Acts of Caring week.

RAC first began in 2005 when students from grades four to 12 at Central Community School in Coquitlam, where Van Sickle said she got the idea.

“I taught in Coquitlam as a middle school teacher for nine years and got involved in RAC every year after I heard about it, so this year I decided to get my little Kindergarten and Grade 1 [students] in on the action,” she said.

The kids kicked off the week by visiting the Pitt Meadows Senior Centre and serenading seniors with Four Hugs a Day, which the students performed in French.

The kids then handed out carnations to all the seniors.

Van Sickle said the students were “thrilled.”

“Blakely, one of my Grade 1 [students] said of the experience, ‘I felt happy because I was making other people’s day be a bit better and a bit happier.’”

On Tuesday, the group dressed as kindness superheros dawning capes and masks to deliver handmade cards to the school’s office staff and teachers.

“The kids delivered the cards with smiles and hugs and the staff were so happy to receive them,” Van Sickle explained. “We also did some baking on Tuesday so that we would have chocolate chip cookies to deliver the next day.”

Those chocolate cookies were taken down to city hall on Wednesday where they were delivered to a secretary.

“We just gave her the box of cookies and told her who we were, thanking her for all that she does,” said Van Sickle.

“Just as we were leaving city hall, the police pulled into the station. We were able to walk over there and give them hugs and high-fives and say a big ‘thank you’ for everything that they do to keep our city safe.”

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Van Sickle also challenged her students on Wednesday to be kind to their peers.

“We talked about how it’s really easy to be kind to people that we like, but it can be difficult to be kind to people that can be annoying or mean,” she explained about the exercise. “But we are truly kindness superheroes when we are able to be kind even when it’s hard.”

The students returned from recess to share how they held a door open for a friend, invited someone to play who looked lonely, or helped a friend who had fallen down.

Since 2006, there have been 59 municipal proclamations passed which recognize RAC Week, according to Van Sickle.

A provincial proclamation is expected to pass this year and students from Coquitlam will be Victoria in February to listen to it being read, she added.


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