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Junior high rallies together to create a friendly campus environment

UPDATE Feb. 6: According to The Great Kindness Challenge website, they report that 13,166,854 students in 24,027 schools and 113 countries were part of the 2019 Great Kindness Challenge! Thank you to teacher Diane Blowers and her junior high students who spearheaded the Kindness Challenge on campus last week.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

Students show kindness on Serve Day by removing carpets for the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM), March 1, 2018.

The Great Kindness Challenge is upon us, Jan. 28-Feb. 1! Over 10 million students from nearly 20,000 schools around the world participate in the challenge, dedicating one week to performing as many acts of kindness on campus as possible.

The goal of the challenge is to create a “proactive and positive bullying prevention initiative that improves school climate and increases student engagement.” PreK-high school students join in, using the week as a powerful tool to actively engage the community in creating a culture of compassion, acceptance, unity, and respect.

Zach Vanderlinden, ’23, participates in the challenge by saying “good morning” to 25 people every day of the week. He appreciates the purpose of the challenge and hopes to bond with his class through the activities.

“I think the great kindness challenge is a great way  to help us get closer to each other and get out of our comfort zones. I think it’s nice for people to help each other around the school and city. I think that if we have kindness in our schools then it will keep growing. Kindness is great!”

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

The junior high leadership class splits up The Great Kindness Challenge list, creating a list of kind acts throughout the week, Jan. 28-Feb. 1.

The Great Kindness Challenge partners with National School Climate Center, Character Counts!, World Kindness Movement, and many more to promote a peaceful environment not only during the challenge week, but throughout the year. The challenge occurs about two weeks before Random Acts of Kindness Day, Feb. 17, where people devote a day to showing kindness at random moments all day.

In the following two illustrations, junior high leadership teacher Diane Blowers took on The Great Kindness Challenge with her students and created a list of daily kind acts for students to approach this week and beyond.

Fresno Christian participates in The Great Kindness Challenge this year, allowing students to take videos of each other doing something kind and posting them on social media with the hashtag #fccatchkindness. Participants will be placed in a raffle with the prize of a $10 Starbucks gift card.

Junior Thy Pham came to the U.S. in 2017 in hopes of further her education. As she walks the halls on campus she notices that the student body could improve their attitudes toward new students.

“At my school in Vietnam we focused heavily on academics, not so much on extra activities on campus,” Pham said. “I think it is very important to be kind to people at school. Last year I went to a school in Michigan and they were more friendly than here. The people that I’ve met are not as friendly. I think that weeks like this are important to remind people to be kind and friendly to new students.”

The junior high leadership class took on the acts of kindness list by separating the days with quotes and themes. The middle school students encourage each other to get involved by performing the acts of kindness on each day’s list.

Addison Schultz | The Feather Online

Use the hashtags #fccatchkindness, #GKCfamily, and #greatkindnesschallenge to participate in The Great Kindness Challenge throughout the week.

Diane Blowers, junior high leadership teacher, helps her students participate by presenting them with a quote relating to the specific day and a list of challenges to try and accomplish.

“This is my first year taking the acts of kindness week over for the junior high,” Blowers said. “I’m really excited to lead these kids and get the junior high involved. We have different quotes for Tuesday through Friday that remind the students to serve one another and be kind. Each morning the kids will receive a list of kind acts and if they complete the sheet, they will be entered in a raffle to win Stuff Mart money.”

The following list shows daily quotes from the junior high leadership class, encouraging their classmates to practice kindness.

Tuesday –

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or ever touched; they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller

Wednesday –

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

Thursday –

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of being rewarded, safe in knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you!” – Princess Diana

Friday –

“Choose to be kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” – Richard Carlson

The Great Kindness Challenge encourages people to be kind for a week, but the Fresno Christian campus jumps into a second semester full of service opportunities. Looking back on the Canned Food Drive and Operation Christmas Child, students anticipate Kids Day, Serve Day, and the FC Auction in the upcoming months.

For more information on The Great Kindness Challenge, contact Diane Blowers in Room 626 or through her email. The following video by freshman Austin Petersen outlines the campus junior high participation in the Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2019, event.

The Great Kindness Challenge from The Feather Online on Vimeo

For more articles, read Brandon Brogan finishes out FC basketball career and EDITORIAL: Resolve issues through mediation, conversation.

Addison Schultz can be reached via email and via Twitter.

Kamryn Schultz and Annabelle Messer both contributed to this article.

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