This week students in the Riverhead School District are smiling at their peers, hugging their family members and giving their friends high-fives.
It’s all part of the Great Kindness Challenge.
Elementary students throughout the district are participating in the national event that began Monday and ends Friday.
The challenge is designed to prevent bullying by spreading positivity and increasing student engagement, according to its website. Students are given a checklist of kind acts and are encouraged to complete as many as possible during the school week.
Fourth graders at Phillips and Roanoke Avenue elementary schools, called Peacemakers, created “kindness matters” signs and kindness kits to distribute to every classroom. Lead by Riverhead CAP social worker Shannon Kutner, the peacemakers have been participating in the challenge since 2013. The group aims to prevent bullying using peer-lead activities.
The students will also read “Emily and the Kindness Bracelet” by Lisa Krekeler to all of the kindergarten through fourth-grade classes and participate in activities related to the book. Ms. Krekeler is also expected to visit Roanoke, Phillips and Riley Avenue schools.
At Riley Avenue, students are participating in Spirit Week, dressing to fit a specific theme each day, and creating kindness banners.
Students at Riley Avenue and Pulaski Street schools are raising money for a campaign through the Kindness Challenge called Kind Coins for Hurricane Harvey relief. For every $50,000 raised, Kind Coins will build a new playground at a hurricane affected school.
Pulaski teachers sent a letter home to parents asking them to buy a paper quilt square, write their name on it and decorate it. The money will go to Kind Coins and the squares will be used to create a large “paper kindness quilt to display the warmth of kindness in our school,” the letter said.
Photo caption: Student peacemakers at Roanoke Avenue Elementary School. (Credit: Riverhead CAP)