Here is our first, of many, podcasts! We are very excited to share this with you. This month we are focusing on empathy. In this episode, our founder Justina Bryant talks you through Dr. Riess' E.M.P.A.T.H.Y formula, and she encourages all of us to continue to teach, grow, and develop our empathy skills. We hope you enjoy this episode.
Blog reference link: A Message of Kindness: A Kindness Project about Empathy
We are still working on uploading the program to iTunes. We will keep you posted when our official site is up and running.
You can bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to your school site next year! Simply share the 21 Day Kindness Kickstarter link (http://kck.st/2osw2tw) with your community members and ask them to dedicate the program to your school! Suggestions of people you can send the link to are, a group of local businesses in your area, parents, grandparents, caring community members, sports teams, chamber of commerce, 4-H Chapters, etc.
We want to help schools develop a safe school environment for today's youth. An environment that emphasizes respect for others, promotes responsible decisions, creates a positive atmosphere, develops empathy, strengthens the school community and increases positive behaviors.
The mission of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge is to empower youth to change their world with kindness. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge teaches today’s youth to be effective, caring and proactive leaders. Our vision is to bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge program to 250 schools during the 2017-18 school year – reaching more than 175,000 students and inspiring more than 2.5 million Acts of Kindness!
Check it out & share our Kickstarter Campaign!
Enhancing or improving school culture starts from the top down. Starting with the principal then the teachers and staff, and finally the students. Your students will follow your example nine times more often than your advice. How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath will inspire you to lead with kindness.
How Full is Your Bucket? is a great book for your entire team (staff, teachers, and principal) to read together. It is a short read that delivers a powerful message that is sure to make a culture shift on campus.
Let us know if this book made a difference on your campus by leaving a comment below.
Do you see students at your school sitting alone or having a hard time making friends? For many students, navigating the schoolyard at break or finding a lunch buddy can be challenging and overwhelming. Sitting by oneself is a lonely experience. In some cases, students who are by themselves become targets for bullying. Feeling socially isolated can also cause poor academic performance. What does your school do to encourage students to engage with others outside their groups or who may be feeling alone and ostracized? We have a few ideas below to help your students find a welcoming place at school.
For older students, a new app called Sit With Us helps students who have difficulty finding a place to sit for lunch or hang out find a welcoming group. The app allows students to designate themselves as “ambassadors,” thereby inviting others to join them. Ambassadors can then post “open lunch” events, which signal to anyone seeking company that they’re invited to join the ambassadors’ table. Sit with Us is a mobile app that is designed to create a kinder more inclusive school community. It was designed by 16-year Natalie Hampton after she experienced bullying and loneliness during her seventh-grade year. Hampton told Audie Cornish on NPR’s “All Things Considered” that the reason why she felt an app like this was necessary is because it prevents kids from being publicly rejected and being considered social outcasts by their peers. She is definitely on to something - recent studies conducted by Princeton, Rutgers and Yale University show that when students, especially the “cool kids,” stand up to bullying it has a significant impact. During a 2012-2013 school year, over 50 New Jersey middle schools provided their most socially competent students with social media tools and encouragement to combat bullying, and saw a reduction in student conflict reports by 30 percent.
We think Natalie's app is a great idea, especially for middle and high school students. For those schools where phones aren't allowed or whose students are too young to bring them to school, here are a few other ideas to give kids a chance to feel included:
For some people making new friends can be a bit terrifying. We’ve put together a fun interactive project for students of all ages. Younger students can make posters or simply do a small presentation on flash cards, while older students can utilize technology and create a PowerPoint presentation or iMovie. The sky is the limit.
We've designed our program to be extremely cost effective and budget friendly! The 21 Day Kindness Challenge School Program costs just about $1/student. Our goal is to bring the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to as many schools that want it. Here are some different ways schools have paid for the program:
We believe that giving students the opportunity to raise money for the program provides them with invaluable leadership and career skills. It can also be a bonding experience for students who may be having trouble fitting in or finding friends. Some student leadership groups have raised money by hosting bake sales, rummage sales, runs/walks and other small fundraising activities.
Many school districts have special funds set aside for anti-bullying or wellness campaigns. Check with your district office to see if this is an option for your school.
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge is also a great opportunity to reach out to local community organizations like your rotary club, 4-H, chamber of commerce, Lions Club, etc. for support. Many groups are looking for ways to make an impact for their local students and will provide small grants to your school.
Parent groups are also an excellent resource. You may want to reach out to your parent group (PTA, Home & School Club, Parent Alliance) to see if they will fund the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. We have found that parents are very supportive of programs that will have a significant impact and that directly engage their children.
We are happy to help you! Please contact us, and we would be delighted to provide you with specific funding ideas to meet your school's needs. We have videos, flyers, email, and snail-mail templates, etc. that you can use for community groups and parents.
For many schools, finding ways to connect students from different groups on campus is a big challenge. Kindness can help!
An act of kindness can be as easy as reaching out to get to know someone who is different from you -- saying hello and getting to know one another.
The first step is finding just one thing you have in common!
Research suggests that humans have a deeply rooted feeling to be kind and generous, but some obstacles can keep us from acting on those basic impulses. One of the biggest barriers to helping others is that of "group difference": we feel much less motivated to be kind or to help someone if they don’t seem to belong to our group —that is, if they’re not a member of our “in-group”—and we may even feel hostile toward members of an “out-group.”
The good news is that studies show that we can easily change who we consider to be part of our "in-group". So a great way to encourage kindness and develop friendships is to identify things you have in common with another person - even if similarities don't seem very obvious at first. For example, in one study, people were more likely to help a fallen jogger when the jogger was a fellow fan of the same soccer team than when the jogger was a fan of a rival team (as indicated by their shirt). But when participants were reminded of a shared identity with the fallen rival (being a soccer fan), they were more likely to help than they were to help a non-fan.
How can this information help you and your students at school? The exercise below from the Greater Good Science Center is designed to help expand students' sense of shared identity with others. This works really when you have different groups on campus that don't always socialize or mingle together. It will take just 15 minutes of your classroom time, but the impact for your school culture can be long lasting. You may even want to encourage your students to do this exercise with a different person at least once per week.
How It Works:
1. Think of a person in your life who seems to be very different from you in every way that you can imagine. They might have different interests, different religious or political beliefs, or different life experiences. They may even be someone with whom you have had a personal conflict, or who belongs to a group that has been in conflict with a group to which you belong.
2. Next, make a list of all of the things that you most likely share in common with this person. Perhaps you both go to the same school, have a class or two together, or live in the same neighborhood. Maybe you both have siblings or have parents who are divorced. Maybe you have had shared experiences, played a similar sport (or played some sport), seen the same movie, read the same book, shopped at the same grocery store. At the broadest level, you both belong to the human species, which means that you share 99.9% of your DNA!
3. Review this list of commonalities. How do they make you see this person in a new light? Instead of simply seeing this person as someone unfamiliar to you, or as a member of an out-group, now try to see this person as an individual, one whose tastes and experiences might overlap with yours in certain ways.
4. Repeat this exercise whenever you meet someone who initially seems different from you, with whom you have a conflict, or who makes you feel uncomfortable.
We would love to hear from you if you try this exercise with your students! Please reply to this post or on Facebook. We believe that kindness and friendship can bring people closer together. Thank you to the Greater Good Science Center for this wonderful activity that works to achieve that goal.
Help your child build the confidence he or she needs to create new friendship connections at school. The beginning of school is a great time for parents to talk with their children about how to build new friendships. Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, author of Smart Parenting for Smart Kids, discusses four ways you can help your child create new friendships.
These four ways are outlined in the video:
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 on Campus
Sign up for our Kindness eNewsletter!
Note From the Founder
Hello. I am the founder of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge Program.