‘Tis the season to be kind: Stemmers Run Middle students embrace “Project Kindness”


Deck the halls with acts of kindness!

At Stemmers Run Middle School, ‘tis the season to be kind. Whether in the classroom, in the hallways or at home, students are collecting assignments for those who are absent, helping others to open their lockers and completing their chores for Project Kindness.

Initiated by Bryan Thanner, principal at Stemmers Run Middle, Project Kindness is a new, school-wide program that promotes compassion and courtesy among students. To participate in the program, students request Project Kindness contracts from their teachers. Then, the students sign and share the contracts with their parents. Once the students return the contracts to their teachers, they receive bracelets or lanyards that symbolize their involvement with the project.

According to Marlene McNamara, paraeducator at Stemmers Run Middle, “Mr. Thanner’s idea [behind the program] is that, by identifying individuals who are committed to treating people with kindness, we can start a movement that is about doing what is right.”

“Start a movement,” Stemmers Run Middle has: because of the project, adds McNamara, “We are now seeing students picking up trash left by others… and helping those who drop objects in the hall,” among other acts of kindness.

What’s more, in addition to the bracelets and lanyards, students also receive an opportunity to place their names on a bulletin board in the cafeteria, where other students can recognize their classmates for their commitment to kindness.

“All students are able to see their names [of their classmates] displayed with pride,” says McNamara.

However, besides prompting recognition from students, the bracelets, lanyards and posts to the bulletin board serve other purposes. In fact, as McNamara mentions, the tokens provide students with “a daily reminder about how to treat others.”

With the winter holiday season in full swing, what better reminder could students have than that?

Story idea and photos by Marlene McNamara, paraeducator, Stemmers Run Middle School. Story by Blake Lubinski, consultant, Department of Communications and Community Outreach.
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