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School starts kindness challenge

How many acts of kindness can your community do? This is the sentiment Cumberland County Elementary School (CCES) is attempting to get to the center of with its new Kindness Challenge.

“Originally, we started the challenged for our 100th day of school,” CCES Principal Virginia Gills said. “Since then, we have challenged others to help spread kindness in and around their community.”

The kindness challenge is a video of CCES students on the 100th day of school speaking about their intention of carrying out 100 acts of kindness.

“We decided to spread happiness and joy, kindness and good feelings,” one student said in the video.

Students in the video describe many acts of kindness, including volunteering, helping a friend with a chore, spending time with someone who doesn’t have family, writing a letter to a veteran, making someone smile, being kind, baking cookies for a neighbor, donating a gently-used or new toy and giving someone a compliment.

The video ends by challenging other schools and communities to do the same.

Gills said at first, the school challenged all local TV stations, Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres and heard nothing back.

“Hampden-Sydney College, Powhatan Elementary School, and Cumberland Middle School took our challenge,” Gills said. “Through social media, Bessie Weller Elementary School (BWES) heard about it, and responded by video after completing the challenge.”

She said Cumberland County Middle School took the challenge and helped to beautify the CCES campus.

“Thank you so much to you and your students for inspiring these acts of kindness all over the world,” BWES officials said. “These kids had a blast for the past two weeks making this happen, and we hope you all enjoy it as well.”

BWES students said they responded to the kindness challenge by collecting food for an animal shelter, helping out in teachers’ classrooms, writing letters to men and women who serve in the armed forces, collecting recyclables around the school, hanging encouraging posters, creating butterfly hugs to encourage kids with cancer and pledging to show kindness across school.

She said WRIC ABC Channel 8 heard about the project and featured it on its kindness segment last week.