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Cool Schools: Kindness campaign underway at Model Elementary

Cool Schools: Kindness campaign underway at Model Elementary

GOSHEN, Ind. -- Third grade teacher Ellen Longcer wastes no time as the school day starts at Model Elementary. 

“You need to think of one positive message you want to write,” said Longcer. 

Chalk bucket in hand, Longcer and her students walk to the black top ready to scribble messages of encouragement to their classmates. 

“Ok go ahead and line up,” said Longcer. 

They’re kicking off another day of the school’s “21 Days to Be Kind” campaign. 

“It’s just about being very intentional about teaching kindness,” said Longcer. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big gesture. It can just be please and thank you.”

It started September 1. 

Singer Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” foundation started the challenge in 2018. 

The challenge encourages communities across the country to practice random acts of kindness for 21 days in a row.

“The idea is that it takes 21 days to build a habit and so, 21 days of kindness in hopes that it continues on,” said Model Elementary Principal Tami Hicks. 

Students at Model learn a different way to be kind each day before the morning announcements then work on it the rest of the day. 

For example, students have practiced saying their please and thank yous, picking up their toys without being asked, and telling people they’re loved and appreciated. 

“One of Lady Gaga’s quotes is, “In a world where you can do anything, choose kindness it doesn’t cost a thing.” said Hicks “Sometimes just doing one extra little thing that’s kind can promote that person to go and do something kind for someone else.” 

Hicks says it’s the school’s second year participating in the initiative. 

“It’s really neat to watch kids intentionally think, ‘Ok, I’m going to do something kind and I’m going to hold the door open for people,’” said Hicks. 

A study from the foundation says acts of kindness boosts a person’s levels of happiness, self-worth, and calmness. 

“Include someone,” said third grader Isabela Barahona.  “Kindness is really important and it can make someone’s day.” 

Barahona calls the challenge empowering. 

“When I feel like someone is not feeling I ask, ‘Hey what’s up you ok?’” said Barahona. 

Logan Yoder Rupe thinks it’s changing students.

“I’ve seen a real difference in the whole school,” said Yoder Rupe. “I’ve been seeing tons more kindness than before.” 

Both agree it creates an impression that lasts longer than a chalk session or three week challenge. 

“I would encourage them to do kindness because then, well they would have more friends,” said Yoder Rupe. 

“It makes me feel like I want to go to school, I want to go to different places, I want to meet new people,” said Barahona. “It just I feel like then it could make a really big impact in this world.” 

As part of the campaign, Model is sharing their acts of kindness on social media

People can follow the hashtags #BeKind21, #ModelIsKind, and #ModelTheWay on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

Principal Hicks says even if you don’t belong to the Model community, they would love for you to share your kindness stories with them.

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