Kindness Challenge

Eagle Creek Elementary student Cameron Lowber sits on his father, Caleb Lowber, to place a message on a semi-truck in downtown Arlington.

 

Arlington's Eagle Creek Elementary students continued the work on their Great Kindness Challenge from early this year by distributing kind messages to the community.

Each year fourth and fifth graders at the school help to organize an event to spread good feelings by writing good messages to each other.

Usually the work begins in January and February when students help write hundreds of messages and then hand them out in March. This year's event was interrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Last year when we closed down due to the pandemic we had over a thousand messages," said Colene Jablonski, school counselor at Eagle Creek Elementary and one of the organizers of the event. "We had all these great messages and they were just sitting on the shelf."

Students at the school talked about what to do with them and brainstormed possibilities.

"They came up with the idea," to put them around the community for Arlington locals to find, said Jablonski.

"They wanted to help lighten the mood in the community," because they know there's a lot going on right now, she said.

The Great Kindness Challenge is part of a worldwide program that has been going on for about two decades now, said Jablonski.

"It came from a mother's concern about how children were getting along," she said.

Since then it has spread to many different schools who take part each year to spread positivity.

"I started it at Eagle Creek about four years ago," said Jablonski. "I heard from other colleagues around the state and they said it was a good program. I thought it was a great idea."

Many students participate in both their fourth grade year and their fifth grade year because they enjoy the program, said Jablonski.

"They love it, they get very energized," she said. "They get to see another side of the school."

For many students it is the first opportunity at leadership and organization as they get to take charge of much of the organizing for the event.

"It's a real benefit to the community as well," said Jablonski, as usually police, fire, airport and city officials come to help mentor the students during the challenge.

As the pandemic continues, Jablonski said this year's Kindness Challenge will likely look very different from past years.

"This year we're going to do the challenge virtually," she said, and it will be more self-guided.

"It will likely involve a kindness checklist that they can do for their family or neighborhood," said Jablonski.

 

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