“You know kids can change the world!”
Our video pick for February will not only melt your heart, but it will inspire you to spread kindness.
Ms. Norenberg and her class call themselves the ‘kindness squad.' After completing the 21 Day Kindness Challenge elementary program, Ms. Norenberg's class is secretly doing acts of kindness for others in their community. Check out this video to find out what Ms. Norenberg and her students are doing to change the world.
Last week we shared exciting news with you about our corporate partnership program, which pairs businesses with schools to implement the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. Since then we’ve had a few questions from Kindness Coaches on how to reach out to their local businesses for smaller sponsorships and financial help in order to bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to their schools. Even though our program is extremely cost effective - the 21 Day Kindness Challenge costs about $1/student - we understand that budgets are very limited and in many cases already set for the school year. Some schools want to bring the program this spring and don’t want to wait until new budgets are passed to do so.
We have found that local businesses, small organizations (such as Lions clubs, Elks Clubs, Rotary Groups, Chamber of Commerces, etc.) and even parents and/or parent groups like your PTA are extremely interested in helping to pay for the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. It isn’t a difficult “ask” from them, but it is helpful to have tools in place to help! Remember, we are always here to help you brainstorm ideas, provide templates, and we can customize an estimate just for your school. Our goal is to spread kindness by bringing the Kindness Challenge to every school that wants to participate!
We have written this letter for our interested Kindness Coaches. We are pleased to share it with you as well! All you need to do is replace the information in ALL CAPS with your personal information. Everything else is ready to go for you! We recommend printing this on your school letterhead or including your school logo whenever possible.
Dear LOCAL FUNDER (this can be a local organization, business, parent group, etc):
OUR SCHOOL wants to participate in the 21 Day Kindness Challenge, a program that empowers students to change their world through kindness. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge encourages everyone on our campus to do 5 acts of kindness every day for 21 school days. The effect is contagious! Studies have shown that teaching kindness at school makes a difference for everyone with the following benefits:
We are writing to request your help in bringing the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to OUR SCHOOL. Although the program is very cost-efficient - it only costs about $1/student - we are seeking local support and funding. We respectfully ask for ($amount needed) from LOCAL FUNDER. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge provides all of the materials, curriculum, training and support that we need to run the program - all we need to do is see how many acts of kindness we can do in 21 days. We are up for the Challenge!
We would be happy to recognize your support by writing press releases to our local media, and listing your name on our school website. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge organization will also be happy to list you among their amazing Kindness Champions on their website. Most importantly, you will know that you are building a better community for all of us by creating a positive climate on our school campus. You can find out more information about the 21 Day Kindness Challenge programs at 21daykindnesschallenge.org.
Thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to hearing back from you! I can be reached at YOUR EMAIL HERE or by phone PHONE NUMBER.
We have been asking students and teachers who have participated in the 21 Day Kindness Challenge, what kindness means to them. Their answers are heartwarming, and a wonderful reminder of how teaching kindness really can change our world. Read on, and be inspired! #bringkindnesstoyourcampus
“It’s the most important part of being human. It makes people feel good" - Nate, 8th grade
"People being nice and helping others" - Riley, 6th grade
"Accepting people and caring for them no matter your differences" - Charlie, Kindness Coach
"Being nice and loving people" - Claire, Pre-K
"Being nice" - Mary, 2nd grade
"My Mom" - Simon, 8th grade
“Kindness means going out of your way to make others feel good, to do more for others than others do for you, and to make someone smile” - Trenten, 8th grade
"Doing kind things for one another" - Jackson, 5th grade
"It means being nice and respectful” - Nathan 3rd Grade
"Kindness means caring for other people, animals and the environment. It means considering how our actions and words affect others and being thoughtful and sensitive to their needs" - Rachel, High School Counselor
“Compassion and inclusion” - Chloe, 6th grade
“Generosity and inclusion” - Bret, 8th grade
"Kindness means safety and happiness" - Ellie, 5th grade
"It means respecting others" - Luke, 3rd grade
“Listening and being nice” - Clark, Pre-K
"Kindness is truly caring about someone's or something's well being" - Rosie, Special Ed Teacher
"Kindness should be our lives" - Siena, 4th grade
We want to know what kindness means to you. The 21st person to respond will receive a special kindness treat from us. Please reply below or send us an email.
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge is proud to announce the launch of its Corporate Partners Program, which pairs businesses with schools to implement the 21 Day Kindness Challenge.
The corporate partnership program provides companies with the opportunity to make a difference in the communities where they are located and where their employees live. The program offers many partnership benefits, including the opportunity to select schools to participate in the 21 Day Kindness Challenge program. Companies receive branding opportunities on all the materials included with the program for those schools.
“We are very excited about our latest venture,” says Justina Bryant, Founder and President of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. “We often get requests by corporations to launch a corporate kindness challenge. This is a great opportunity for corporations to raise awareness about kindness within their company as well as to make an impact for students in their local schools. Not only will they be able to have the opportunity to receive outstanding marketing benefits, they will make a difference for schools in their area, and they can engage their employees in selecting the schools. Plus, they can be first to pilot our Corporate Kindness Challenge when we launch it!”
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge is committed to helping as many schools as want the program as possible. We are constantly seeking new and cutting edge strategies to help students and teachers bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to their campus. Please email us or leave a comment below if you know of a company that would be interested in joining our partnership!
Welcome 2017! With the start of the New Year comes the opportunity for new beginnings! The 21 Day Kindness Challenge team is looking forward to new opportunities to spread more kindness on school campuses throughout the coming year. We are reinvigorated by our mission to empower students to change their world with kindness.
Kindness has been proven to positively impact students socially, academically, and emotionally. Teaching kindness is critical to improving the lives of our children and communities. Please join us in our movement to make a difference through kindness, and find out how your school can play a part in changing lives.
5 acts of kindness every day for 21 school days. Every. Person. On. Campus. We believe every small act of kindness changes the world! Be the Change in 2017!
It was the beginning of the school year, and Principal Denise Kelly was feeling frustrated. Despite hard work and positive efforts by her staff, her school – Sterling Elementary in Sterling, Alaska – was experiencing high levels of behavioral issues. Principal Kelly had more students in her office and had suspended more kids by October than in the entire previous school year. She wanted to break the negative cycle!
Mrs. Kelly reached out to the 21 Day Kindness Challenge with the hopes that the program would reignite her staff to feel kindness in themselves and to share the kindness with their students. She is extremely happy with the results.
“I saw changes in our students; I saw changes in our staff. When we talk about students and their difficult behaviors, we talk about how to lead them back to kindness with kindness! The focus on kindness has been infectious!”
Mrs. Kelly’s co-kindness coach is Katy McKinley. She was inspired to help with the Kindness Challenge because she has been teaching Growth Mindset in her classroom, and felt that the 21 Day Kindness Challenge is an excellent complement to the Growth Mindset. She was very excited about bringing additional positive change to their school.
Mrs. McKinley was very pleased with the impact the 21 Day Kindness Challenge has had on her classroom and Sterling Elementary. She says other teachers agreed that the 21 Day Kindness Challenge was much needed and served a necessary purpose in their classrooms.
“It is amazing how contagious kindness can be,” she said. “Students, staff, and community have been affected by our challenge!”
Mrs. Kelly concurred. “Our (kindness) chain was 931 feet and it equated to 6,571 acts of kindness!” she said. “But beyond that, we had a class who all on their own conducted their own kindness missions across the school and the world. We had a parent contact us and ask us to spread cheer with handwritten cards to the children at the hospital over Christmas to whom they provide gifts. We had numerous parents comment at how contagious our kindness challenge was!”
Sterling’s office referrals have already seen a decrease by nearly 70% since they held their 21 Day Kindness Challenge, said Mrs. Kelly.
“Students are helping each other more and are being more respectful to the adults.”
Mrs. Kelly says the best part about the 21 Day Kindness Challenge at Sterling Elementary School was watching students do kind things, tell her about the kind things they did and seeing them ask to help others “just because.” Mrs. McKinley agreed, saying that she also loved sharing the daily videos that are provided as part of the program and planning the kick off and celebration Kindness Challenge assemblies for the school, especially because they included lots of students and community members.
Sterling Elementary School really got into the spirit of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge with their kick off and celebration assemblies. They invited many guests to attend and participate. A former Sterling principal, a school board representative, their school district’s communications specialist, a community volunteer and their State Senator all made guest speeches! Their district superintendent and a former Sterling Elementary secretary helped the students celebrate at the end of their Kindness Challenge.
One of Mrs. Kelly’s favorite parts of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge was dressing up as the Kindness Queen, a role she took on during the kick-off assembly.
“For our second week, I decided that I should ensure that the students were still thinking about kindness after the weekend. So I put on my Kindness Queen costume – which is not necessarily 'Winter in Alaska' appropriate – and I went to bus duty, greeting all of the students and parents with a reminder to be kind!”
Mrs. Kelly says that anyone can and should do the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. “Any school can do it!” she says. “Focusing on kindness is easy! It is well worth the time and the energy.”
One of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge team’s favorite stories about Sterling Elementary was getting an email from an enthusiastic kindness coach from another school in California.
“I just heard the 21 Day Kindness Challenge on the Bobby Bones show!” she emailed to let us know. Sterling Elementary had received a super fun shout-out from the morning show hosts.
Listen to the shout-out on the Bobby Bones show here. The Sterling clip starts at 7:38.
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge team applauds Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. McKinley for their dedication, creativity, passion, and enthusiasm for creating a kinder, more inclusive school climate. To find out how you can make a difference on your school campus, visit our website!
By ELIZABETH EARL | Peninsula Clarion
Beyond just gifts, hugs and kind words, the teachers and staff at Sterling Elementary School are hoping students will find many ways to be kind this November.
The school kicked off its 21-Day Kindness Challenge on Monday with a school-wide assembly headed up by the “Kindness Ambassadors,” students involved with organizing the event who explained how it would work.
Boiled down, it’s simple: Be kind. Often.
Students are challenged this month to perform five acts of kindness every day and write them down on slips of paper in their classrooms or the school office. Pretty much any selfless act can qualify, from handing a friend a pencil in class to sharing lunch with someone who doesn’t have one. At the end of the month, teachers and staff will chain together all the strips and hang them around the school, celebrating the students’ accomplishments with another assembly on Dec. 1.
The practicality is very real — the program was designed as a positive reinforcement effort to prevent bullying, reinforcing positive interactions, according to the program’s website. Designed by a California mother for her children’s school, about 27 schools nationwide have used it. It is similar to other kindness programs like the Great Kindness Challenge, Think Kindness or Random Acts of Kindness, but this is the first time this particular program has been used in Alaska, said Denise Kelly, Sterling Elementary School principal.
“We believe this is the first time this particular program has been used in Alaska,” she said.
The title is based on the old idea that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. It fits in with the school’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program, an in-school program designed to help intervene with students at risk of behavior problems. The program has three tiers, the first of which is broad and is administered to the entire student population.
One current trend in PBIS is to use positive support on a schoolwide basis for cognitive goals — like kindness. Students in schools with school-wide positive behavioral support systems had fewer school suspensions than those without, and perceptions of safety improved in those schools, according to a 2015 post from the National Institute of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs.
The discussions for the event started between four sixth-grade students and two teachers, evolving from there to include two students from each class as kindness ambassadors. Teachers were asked to pick two students they thought were the kindest to be the ambassadors.
The challenge provides the older kids with a chance to be role models for the younger ones, Kelly said.
“We’ve really been pushing for the sixth graders and the kindergarteners to interact more,” she said.
The program builds on one that Sterling Elementary School put in place in 2009 in which teachers awarded students colored pom-poms as tokens of good behavior. The balls were collected into communal jars in each classroom, and when the jars were filled, the classrooms would have celebrations. When the school’s communal jar was filled, the whole school would have a party. Sterling Elementary School was the first in the district to pick up the PBIS program, according to previous Clarion reporting.
At the kick-off assembly Oct. 31 — where princesses and pirates were intermixed with students in ordinary dress — the Kindness Ambassadors demonstrated simple acts other students could do. They presented flowers and offered kind words and hugs to those in attendance. Before leaving the assembly, Kelly sprinkled all the students with “kindness” confetti.
“I’ve got kindness in my hair,” one student said, shuffling his hands through his hair, as he walked back out into the hallway.
According to a Canadian study, it takes ten seconds to stop a bully. Can you guess how many people it takes to stop a bully in ten seconds? One! The study found that if even one student spoke up to express disapproval of the bullying incident, the bully typically stopped within ten seconds.
Bullies gain power when no one challenges their behavior. An estimated 85 percent of bullying happens with other students watching. Bystanders often passively watch the incident or aggravate the problem by cheering on the behavior and/or joining in on the behavior.
Here are three strategies you can use to help empower bystanders:
Role play incidents that can foster peer malice and then have a discussion about what a bystander should do to help the situation.
Start the discussions by asking open-ended questions and writing down the answers. Tackle each answer to find a solution that can cultivate kindness, foster friendships and build community.
Many schools have reduced bullying incidents by empowering their student leadership or advisory team to take on the issue of peer malice. Here are some ideas on how to utilize your student leaders or student advisory team:
We often get the question, "When should I hold my school's 21 Day Kindness Challenge?"
We say, "Really, whenever it works best for your school!"
The Kindness Challenge is designed to fit within your school's schedule. You and your student leaders decide when will be the best time to hold your school's 21 Day Kindness Challenge. That said, we do suggest you consider a few factors that may come in to play. Here are some of our suggestions for optimal planning:
For more thoughts on planning, or for more information about how to bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to your school, please join us for our LIVE Q&A session. We meet the second Tuesday of every month from 9:00 to 9:30 a.m. PST. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge team is available to answer all your questions and help get you started on making a change on your school culture! More information is also available on our website or by watching our Webinar. In just 24 minutes, we explain all about the 21 Day Kindness Challenge.
Kindness really does make a difference in our world. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge team is proud of this teen who is reaching out and doing what he can to spread kindness in his community. With a simple yet very helpful act of kindness, this teen made a difference for his neighbor. Thank you, Brett, for reminding us how easy it is to be kind!
We encourage you to share Brett's story with your students, and see what kind acts you can inspire in them!
Do you want to give ideas to your students on how to spread kindness in their neighborhoods, too?
Here are 5 easy ways to say thank you or just let people know that you care.
Do you have some other ways that you or your students spread kindness in your community? We want to hear from you! Share them with us by commenting on this blog post or by sharing on our social media channels Facebook and Twitter.
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Note From the Founder
Hello. I am the founder of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge Program.