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South Jordan Journal

Elk Meadows Elementary students’ random acts of kindness brightness others’ days

Apr 03, 2022 06:57PM ● By Julie Slama

At Elk Meadows, a kindness tree was adorned with hearts representing random acts of kindness students did during the school’s kindness week to brighten someone’s day. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama|[email protected]

Tricia Troester is hoping Elk Meadows students are spreading a little kindness in their worlds.

The school production and recess assistant recently headed Elk Meadows Random Acts of Kindness Week in February to unite the school community.

“We wanted students to learn kindness changes everything—no matter how small, no act of kindness goes unappreciated,” she said. “Students are learning that together we become stronger and rise when we lift each other up, and it doesn’t have to end once our Kindness Week is over.”

Along with the other two production and recess assistants, Suzanne Drake and Elisa Bateman, Troester set daily themes during the Kindness Week such as Thank-you Tuesday where an appreciation station was created in the lunchroom that had paper and pencils for students.

“The students wrote short appreciation letters thanking Mr. Jeff (Welch, the custodian) for everything he does, to the cafeteria workers for providing good healthy meals, to their bus drivers, the principal, the librarian, everyone,” she said, adding that she received notes for keeping them safe on the playground.  “The students put a lot of thought into their notes.”

The next day was “Warm Fuzzy Wednesday,” and students wrote notes to their classmates, complimenting them.

“There were all sorts of positive messages about a person on the note. Every student got a note, a warm fuzzy,” said Troester, who remembered doing something similar when she was a student.

On Friday, students ate lunch with other peers who shared the same birthday month, so they had an opportunity to eat with someone outside their classroom.

Fifth grader Katie Giles was sitting alongside others in her birthday month.

“It’s a really good way to make friends and get to know them better since we have something in common,” she said. “It’s been a special week, and we’re all being a little kinder. I think it’s helping to unify our school.”

To further promote the week, every day students could share their random acts of kindness by drawing a way they can be kind or writing it on a paper heart. The hearts ranged from “I helped with the dishes” to “I can be kind by taking turns” to showing how they can play with someone who needs a friend at recess. By the end of the week, the paper kindness tree was adorned with hearts that stretched throughout the hallways of the school.

Troester also works monthly with classes to create a guided art experience that often ties into the season or monthly holiday. For February, it tied into kindness and Valentine’s, in the style of pop artist Chris Uphues’ “Beautiful Days” with bright colored hearts with smiley faces.

“The kids love learning about an artist, and this has been such a fun one to create art in his style,” she said. “They’re getting into it, and it just makes everyone’s day.”

Students also could try to work on the random acts of kindness challenge bingo, which they completed when they played with someone new at recess, offered to help someone who needs, told a friend what they liked about them, smiled to someone in the hallway or other simple acts.

“The big thing is that we just want to bring smiles of kindness with just simple, small things we can easily do,” Troester said. “Just by being kind, we can make someone’s day.”