Missy Grace, Millville Instructional Aide, helps Ruby Hathaway put her handprint on the “Great Kindness Challenge” canvas.

Millville School has been emphasizing “kindness” on a daily basis over the last several months of school.  When information was received regarding the “Great Kindness Challenge” (GKC) it was a perfect fit with the intent of the school to continue to foster a kind and caring school environment. “When I first read about  “The Great Kindness Challenge” I was excited, I wanted to bring it to Millville,” said Mindy DeSantis, Principal/Superintendent of Millville School, “It fit so well with our goals and focus for our school, that being ‘kindness first’.”

Developed by “Kids for Peace”, “The Great Kindness Challenge” is one week dedicated to creating a culture of kindness on campuses nationwide and internationally.

The GKC is a proactive and positive initiative that is intended to help nurture a climate of kindness and caring on school campuses as well as increase student engagement. The event challenges students to perform as many acts of kindness that they can through the week. Dozens of suggestions are listed on a GKC checklist for students to use as a starting point.  Kindnesses aren’t limited to being performed at school, but could also be performed at home, at a friends’ house, between family members, during sports, and just about anywhere you go.

This week Millville School saw hundreds of acts of kindness initiated between all factions of the school: between students, staff and students and among staff. Along with performing kindnesses during the week, there were themed dress-up days, as well as lunchtime activities for all students. The lunchtime activities included making cards for friends, decorating the school words of kindness and compassion, creating messages of kindness to be given out randomly, and making hearts with messages of kindness to be sent to students attending neighboring schools. Additionally, students who completed the GKC checklist added their handprint to a large canvas that will hang in the school halls.

“This was a week filled with so many manifestations of true caring and spontaneous expressions of kindness’, declared DeSantis.   ‘The Great Kindness Challenge’ may have lasted only a week but its lessons will last a lifetime.”