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By LeAnna Stephenson
Tribune Features

Students at Crestview Elementary and New Boston Middle School took part in the Great Kindness Challenge last week. The challenge was born out of the belief that all children deserve to learn in a safe, supportive and caring environment free from bullying and is held annually the last week of January.
“Our kids are inundated with negativity, so it is nice to focus on the positive,” said Crestview Behavior Specialist, Mikki Perry.
The challenge is open to any school and all students from Pre-K all the way to 12th Grade. In 2016, over 5 million students from over 8,000 schools in over 60 countries participated and committed over 250 million acts of kindness, according to the website greatkindnesschallenge.org.
Joining the challenge is simple as printing out a checklist of 50 Kind Deeds and passing out to students to complete during the week. Perry said that Crestview students were asked to try and complete 30 of the 50, while Dana McAdoo, counselor at the middle school, said most of their students used the challenge’s free app. Participating youngsters could check off their list inside the app and were encouraged to upload pictures to social media using the hashtag #KindnessMatters.
“A Kindness Quote was given each morning to set the tone for the day,” McAdoo said. “The kids also used Positive Post-Its, where they wrote a positive word or compliment on a posit-it and placed it on someone’s locker. They were encouraged to do random acts of kindness anonymously and not for recognition.”
Both schools promoted the Great Kindness Challenge in other ways, as well. At the Middle School, the National Junior Honor Society Officers helped encourage the program and made signs to promote it. One such sign was placed on the chain-link fence in front of the school, spelling out “Be Kind” in plastic cups.
At Crestview, students participated in themed dress up days all week and kicked the program off with a pep rally featuring the New Boston High School Drum Line.
“The challenge got them focused on positive things and less negative things,” said Perry.
For more information on the Great Kindness Challenge, visit the website www.greatkindnesschallenge.org.


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