January 30, 2017
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA— All 15 Walnut Valley USD campuses joined millions of people during The Great Kindness Challenge held January 22-26.
At Diamond Bar High, fourth period classes competed to find the best way to pay it forward during “What would you do if you had $100 to spread kindness?” conversations.
“We had so many great entries!” said instructional dean Julie Galindo.
The top five winning classes will now receive the funds to carry out their thoughtful proposals.
Caring students in Charlotte Sorenson's Spanish class will donate to the LA Regional Food bank and Lisa Pacheco’s English students will support their Girl’s League Adopted Child from another country. Funds will support all of her needs for three months.
Kristine Palisoc's English IV Honors students are donating to UNICEF to support under -represented girls’ education. They plan to purchase supplies and host a car wash at the school to grow donation funds.
An Tran's Digital Engineering class will be using their 3D printer to design and create keychains to spread awareness about kindness and teen suicide awareness during Valentine’s week.
And finally, Isabelle Chiang's AP Psychology class will be able to create and deliver gift boxes for children at St. Jude Hospital.
The school’s Wellness Center sponsored daily activities to boost a culture of kindness among the teens.
Their message to students: Kindness Isn’t Cheesy! One kind act by a thoughtful group of people can potentially create a ripple effect across our school and community, and potentially across the globe.
“We chose our slogan to get everyone interested,” said junior Marissa Singh, a wellness consultant and peer counselor.
“When students participate in a random act of kindness they get a stamp and a free bag of Cheetos,” explained senior Daisy Tseng and wellness team member.
Banners featuring the cool Chester Cheetah character were displayed around campus to promote the event.
The school’s hard-working custodial staff received special thanks with a platter of cookies and assistance with lunchtime cleanup duties, shared Wellness Center coordinator Sandy Davis.
Eager participants raced through an obstacle course in the quad by jumping through a hoop, doing a push up, making a basketball shot, and jumping rope.
“Our message is to be more aware, less judgmental, and kind to those who are navigating challenges,” Davis added.
Other students gathered at tables to write kindness grams and make friendship bracelets.
Senior Jonathan Bortis shared that he wrote a message to one of his teachers because “he’s always nice.”
Sophomore Jadyn Hernandez penned an encouraging note to a friend.
“I wanted to spread some positivity and make her smile,” she said.
“I really like kindness week, it makes you think.”
“In my Spanish class, we’re picking up trash or asking teachers if they need help, and being nice!” added sophomore Alyssa Hernandez.
“We need to promote kindness because it makes the world go around, it gives people meaning and purpose in life” Singh added.
“Our hope is that this kindness project will stimulate a meaningful discussion about values, the importance of civic engagement, increase students’ awareness and empathy of others in need,” said principal Reuben Jones.
Castle Rock Elementary students were challenged to complete a checklist of kindness activities.
The Leadership Academy visited classrooms to read books about kindness and during recess hosted a kindness station where students could make cards, bookmarks, and signs.
The student ambassadors also led a wrinkled heart demonstration to show how once unkind words are spoken, wrinkles are left in the recipient’s heart, explained teacher Megan Schweder.
“That’s why it’s always important to be kind in the first place,” she said.
Suzanne Middle School students and parents were sprinkled with happiness as they arrived at school on Monday.
Drama, PALS, and PLUS club members, dressed in cheery yellow t-shirts, greeted arrivals carrying signs with positive messages like Free Hugs, Be Kind, Stay Happy, and Breathe.
During the week, students spread kindness by selecting kindness challenges, writing encouraging messages to schoolmates, or notes of appreciation to adults on campus.
Parent volunteer David Morales received a hand-written letter for assisting a student in finding a specific book in the library.
“I’m really grateful for you because you are thoughtful and generous!” the note from Nathan read. “Helping me and being really kind means a lot to me!”
Morales, who volunteers on campus nearly every day, said it “warmed his heart” to receive the kindness offering.
“This note is precious to me!” he said.
It took several days for the student to locate the volunteer to deliver his message.
“He didn’t have to find me to give me the note, but he persisted in doing his heart’s work,” Morales added.
Diamond Bar High students join The Great Kindness Challenge activities.
Suzanne Middle School students spread happiness during morning drop-off.
Castle Rock Elementary leadership students participate in kindness week activities.