Initiative spreads kindness

Published 1:22 pm Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Student Leaders Club at Buckingham County Elementary School is spearheading a project meant to spread kindness throughout the school and community.

Purposeful Acts of Kindness, a new initiative at the school, aims to teach students the importance of making a point to help others.

The Student Leaders Club was created last year as an enrichment program for gifted students with strong leadership skills. After scheduling conflicts during the day, the club began meeting in the afternoons with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students.

BRIAN KLINGENFUS | HERALD Members of the Student Leaders Club have displayed banners and signs around the school for its Purposeful Acts of Kindness project.

BRIAN KLINGENFUS | HERALD
Members of the Student Leaders Club have displayed banners and signs around the school for its Purposeful Acts of Kindness project.

Linda Ruffner, a fourth-grade teacher at the school and the club’s advisor, said after she introduced the idea of the program the students immediately stepped up and began making posters and signs, coming up with purposeful acts of kindness their classmates could perform for each other.

“The students created all the materials, wrote the announcements and made the announcements to the school,” Ruffner said. “The day I first introduced the idea to them was the first day they had all been together; I turned around to grab some markers for the kids, and when I turned back around, they had already decided who was doing what.”

Ruffner said the difference between Purposeful Acts of Kindness and random acts of kindness is action versus reaction.

Purposeful Acts of Kindness, she said, seeks to teach students to actively think of something kind to do for someone (i.e. cleaning a teacher’s blackboard, picking up trash, etc.), not just to perform an act of kindness for a stranger in need (i.e. holding a door open, helping pick up dropped articles, etc.).

Students in the club came up with dozens of kind acts people could do for each other. The examples were written down on slips of paper and stuck to the banners hanging in the school cafeteria for students to take as ideas for purposeful acts of kindness.

“If someone is alone at lunch, you can go and sit with them,” fifth-grader Nora Dunn explained. “At home, even you could volunteer to help your mom or dad make dinner or help your younger sibling do their homework.”

The members of the club say they have already seen a change in the school due to the program.

Lauren Webb, a fourth- grader in the club, said she had seen students taking care of school property.

“I have seen people pick up trash that’s along our highway,” Webb said.
“I’ve seen people taking the strips with suggestions on them,” fourth- grader Kaylee Price added.

Club member Elly Jai Abruzzo said she enjoyed seeing people around the school perform purposeful acts of kindness.

Principal Bryan Jackson said some of his goals as an administrator are to prevent bullying and encourage students to be thoughtful and compassionate citizens both in and out of school.