Kindness Counts at schools

Theme of the district-wide anti-bullying campaign, which started Wednesday, Pink Shirt Day

(From left) Rini Liu

(From left) Rini Liu

Kindness Counts is the theme of the district-wide anti-bullying campaign, which started Wednesday, Pink Shirt Day.

Members of the District Student Advisory Council met Tuesday at Riverside Centre to go over the 356give campaign, and brainstorm acts of kindness to perform and chart on a “Giving Tree” at their individual schools.

Some of those ideas include thanking bus drivers by handing out cookies at the Maple Ridge bus loop, playing board games with seniors at the local group homes, and greeting students at the door and giving sincere compliments, as wells bake sales to donate to local causes.

A district Giving Tree will be at the district education office. Each time a school completes an act of giving, a bubble will be added to the tree. The tree will bloom throughout the spring, celebrating all the acts of giving.

“By focusing on giving, we hope children learn empathy and compassion and create communities of care,” said Kristi Blakeway, principal at Harry Hooge elementary and organizer of the program.

Such trees exist at six local elementary schools, as well.

District-wide, we are focussing on a positive message as we believe that teaching pro-social behaviour helps all children,” Blakeway added.

Participants wore their Kindness Counts shirts to kick off the campaign.

“We will focus on acts of giving at the school level and community level from Feb. 24 until May 30. On May 30, we will have a district-wide ‘Big Give,’ where we host our annual student leadership conference. All day long, students from SD42 will be out in the community giving back,” Blakeway said.

The 365give Challenge is a powerful tool that inspires educators to teach children to be good citizens. The program supports and enhances educator’s daily curriculum while satisfying school board objectives, assisting teachers with lesson plans, classroom strategies and useful teaching tools without creating extra work.

According to the National Institute of Health, people who give to their community experience a “warm glow” effect. Giving to others activates the regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Altruistic behavior releases endorphins producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high” which makes you feel happy, increases health and promotes cooperation.