Endeavor Sixth Graders Create Kindness Crew
It all started with an idea. And now two Endeavor sixth graders are bringing that idea to life by forming a new school club called the Kindness Crew.
“We wanted to stop bullying and wanted to put more kindness in school,” said student Elle Hensley. Lyla Gully and Elle set up a meeting with counselor Kathy Wiseman and principal LeAnna Webber to discuss their plan. “It was important to us that people don’t feel left out, so they feel like they want to come to school,” said Lyla.
The girls have been busy since that initial meeting to develop plans for the new club. They now have an advisor (teacher Jenny Spaccarelli), and the girls also met with Lakota’s Assistant Director of Gifted Services Lauren Webb and Director of Student Services Lori Brown about their club’s mission. Webb and Brown are involved in the district’s mental health programs and suggested that the club look at the peer-led, evidence-based Sources of Strength program that the middle schools are using.
Elle and Lyla learned about the eight Sources of Strength (such as mental health, healthy activities, physical health, family support and positive friendships) that people rely on when experiencing challenging times in life. The program encourages students to pick one strength they can build up. Junior high peer leaders meet twice a month to plan school-wide campaigns to promote the Sources of Strength to the rest of the student body to create a positive shift in school climate and culture. One of the program’s campaigns centered on developing trusting friends, a perfect way to kick off the Kindness Crew. The members of the club will be able to design activities specifically for Endeavor.
The creation of the Kindness Crew has kickstarted the expansion of the Sources of Strength program to grades 3-6. "Endeavor will be a pilot school to try out the many facets of the program at the elementary level,” said Brown.
“When we first started the club, we were just focused on bullying. Now we are focused on more positives instead of just negative things (bullying),” said Elle and Lyla.
The girls hope to include as many students in the Kindness Crew as possible. There is an application process for the club as Elle and Lyla want to make sure that its members are “serious about our mission and willing to work together to solve problems.”
Tomorrow 11 sixth graders (and school therapy dog, Braxton) will gather during recess for the inaugural meeting of the Kindness Crew. They already have a presentation planned for third grade students on strategies for emotional regulation.
“Everyone seems so enthusiastic about the Kindness Crew,” said Principal Webber. “I have had students and parents from other grade levels asking how to get involved. We are working on a plan to make that happen!”
“We hope to get the program up and running this year, including fifth graders who will be ready to go at the beginning of next year,” said Elle and Lyla. “We also hope the club will inspire our current sixth graders to continue the work by joining Sources of Strength groups next year in junior high.”