Kind of a big deal in Tonganoxie
Valentine’s Day might be around the corner, but folks aren’t exactly cordial these days — at least if you take a gander at some Facebook posts and threads.
Politics and elections can have that effect on people, but Tonganoxie High School students are working this week to remind people to be kinder to their neighbors.
THS counselor Kelly Fredley is working with students to complete The Great Kindness Challenge, a national initiative encouraging school districts to complete various acts of kindness.
“It’s very school-driven,” Fredley said of the national cause. “The whole point is to get the school to come together and treat each tone with kindness. It’s a good bullying prevention technique.”
This year’s challenge started Monday and concludes Friday. Students are to complete 10 challenges each day for a total of 50.
For instance, Monday’s kindness challenges were: smile at 25 people, read a book to a younger child, say “thank you” to a police officer, entertain someone with a happy dance, learn to say “thank you” in a new language, thank a bus driver, call a grandparent, leave a flower on someone’s doorstep, donate food to a food bank and call a radio station and wish them a nice day.
Other challenges during the week include taking a treat to a local firefighter, helping an elder across the street, donating to organizations and people in need, write positive notes in various ways, plant a tree or help with a garden and send a card or gift to a military family.
THS students are tracking their progress through social media. The handle @THS kindness17 has been created. THS students are to use #THSkindness17 with any of their acts of kindness.
An Instagram account also has been created.
Tonganoxie Middle School and Tonganoxie Elementary School are doing activities in their own right this week to get the message across.
It’s also is appropriate timing with a national speaker coming later this week.
Joe Coles, who specializes in addressing bullying, will be in Tonganoxie this week for a community presentation.
He will speak with students Thursday and then will give a presentation that evening for the public at the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center.
A free soup supper, which the Tonganoxie Ministerial Alliance is sponsoing, will start at 5 p.m. The presentation will be 6-7 p.m. at TPAC.
The Tonganoxie High School teaching-as-a-career class will provide free babysitting.
Registration is required so that organizers can get an accurate count for dinner, child care and seating. to register, go to surveymonkey.com/r/53YLHCV or contact Tonya Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-416-1400. The community is encouraged to attend the evening presentation. Coles will finish up with more school interaction Friday.
Fredley said the school hasn’t gotten off to a good start with the Kindness Challenge, but she already is looking ahead to next year and how to better promote it. Her goal is to mark off all 50 kindness challenges.
Some of the challenges seem a bit strange for January, at least if you’re not in Florida or the like.
A Monday challenge was to give flowers to others, while aforementioned tasks were to plant trees or help plant a garden. Another was to have a lemonade stand.
Students made flowers out of construction paper on Monday.
“You’ve got to be creative with it,” Fredley said. “I hope somebody does a lemonade stand.”
On Monday, students were getting into the swing of various challenge requirements, including calling grandparents. A couple students even had FaceTime sessions with their grandparents and posted screenshots on social media.
Fredley said ABC’s “Good Morning America” is promoting the challenge throughout the week and sharing tweets from various schools participating.
She hopes Tonganoxie might get some national coverage if the morning show selects one of Tonganoxie’s kindness tweets.
For more about the challenge, visit thegreatkindnesschallenge.com.
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