Photo submitted by Sharon Smith

“Have a good day and make it good for someone else” is what Sharon Smith heard everyday from her mom, Hilda Wiersma, when heading out to school.
Spreading kindness — a lot of local teachers are doing exactly this and Sharon (a staff member at Chatham Christian School) is hoping to connect these teachers from all local schools. The goal is to have a space for all teachers to swap ideas, encourage each other by sharing kindness projects and also working on joint projects.

This past Christmas, dozens of elementary school students wrote and decorated Christmas cards for the homeless. Some of these students were from Chatham Christian School, and took on the project as part of the school’s Kindness Club.

Sharon says the club started three years ago as a way to promote kindness, among the students and how to be grateful.

Photo submitted by Sharon Smith

If you’re a teacher and are looking for ways to promote kindness at your school, she says the Kindness Club is great for students of any age, and the type of activities done with the club can reflect that.

For example, one of the activities the club has led was a school-wide event called “Parker Days” – named after the head custodian at the school – as a way to thank custodial staff and to teach students about how the school becomes dirty throughout the day and how it gets cleaned up. Sharon says this type of activity promotes awareness and appreciation for staff who work at the school.

Photo submitted by Sharon Smith

That’s just one of several activities the club was involved in prior to 2020, but even with the challenges of social distancing and remote learning, teachers can still find ways to promote kindness amongst their students.

Sharon says the club at her school has been put on hold recently due to the lockdown, but she hopes to be able to connect with the students soon one way or another.

In the meantime, she says the Christmas card initiative helped students understand some of the issues around homelessness, and it was a way for them to connect with people experiencing homelessness in their community.

Over 500 handmade Christmas cards from the Kindness Club, Indian Creek Public School, and Tilbury District High School were distributed with lunches for people experiencing homelessness last December by R.O.C.K. Missions, Sandwich Guys, FreeHelpCK, NeighbourLink, and Street Friends.

This was the second time the club had participated in an activity in the community, and this one in particular is on track to happen again next December if there are other schools interested in participating.

Last November, students in the Kindness Club decorated paper bags as part of The Gift – a community-wide food and gift drive. The bags were decorated with pictures and messages, and were used by the local food bank to fill with food for those in need.

Sharon says she hopes teachers at other schools will be inspired to do something similar, and she believes the lessons learned through these activities are important for students to learn.

Teachers interested in connecting with Sharon can e-mail her at: [email protected]