My college friend (and senior year roommate!) Lea is an incredible person with a kind soul. For as long as I’ve known her she’s gone out of her way for other people and always has something nice and encouraging to say. It makes total sense that she decided to become a teacher. She has a unique ability to see the absolute best in people and her compassionate nature means she cares deeply about her students success.

About a month ago she emailed me to say she loved the random acts of kindness (RAK) I did with my daughter and close friend (and her daughter!) for World Kindness Day. She was so inspired she decided to encourage her students to adopt an attitude of kindness. With her permission, I’m sharing an email she sent me because her words capture her story the best.

Dear Michelle:

SO here is our story…

I teach a class called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). It’s an international education system based out of San Diego. Anyway, the class is for kids who have the potential to enroll in high level classes but may not have some of the “prerequisite skills” to help them be successful there. It is a course to get kids who are traditionally underrepresented in college into 4 year universities. I got these kids as freshmen last year. I will have them for 4 years. There are 14 (including me) and we are a family. I tell you this because I was with this class last year when all of the information about Sandy Hook started to unravel. It was with this class that we learned of the absolute horror that happened to those kids. It was with these kids that I went down to the daycare that is in our school and picked up Jack [her son]  just so that we could all be with him. We are a family and they are my kids.

Last year we made it our mission to improve our own school. In part because we didn’t want any kid to feel like they weren’t welcome or that Bristol Central  High School (BCHS) wasn’t a welcoming space. We transformed our bulletin boards in the hallways all over school. It may not seem like a lot but you would be surprised how pops of color on white cinder blocks really make BCHS a better place to work and learn.

This year I told them about how you and Lillian were doing RAK on World Kindness Day, and so we pledged to do 26 Acts of Kindness. We would do 12 together and then we would pledge to complete one each on our own, bringing our total to 26. We also turned one of our bulletin boards into a random act of kindness board where kids could anonymously post what they have done.

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 We’ve popped popcorn for one of our club’s movie afternoons – this club serves regular ed. and kids with special needs. We gave out bags of kisses with positive messages in them to random kids in the halls. We post-it bombed classrooms while they were at lunch, leaving post-its with words of kindness and encouragement on student’s desks.

We’ve done many small individual acts as well. From helping a child at a football game, to holding the doors for others, to helping our principal clean up after our holiday celebration. We still have 8 to go. All of our acts are posted publicly to encourage others to follow the lead. Other random index cards have begun showing up as well. On Dec. 13th our principal, Pete Wininger, encouraged the whole school to do a RAK in honor of Sandy Hook. That day large paper snowflakes showed up on every door in the school. We have no idea who did it but we have taken to calling them our snowflake elves. And this past weekend some of those kids and I went to a soup kitchen for the day to help out. We are trying to spread the love.

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This wonderful story about how Lea, as an educator, is working to inspire a community of kindness is so incredibly heartwarming. It shows that acts of kindness DO spread. One drop can create a river – so no matter how small of an act of kindness you do for someone else, it does make a difference. Thank you Lea for being an inspiration and sharing your story with us! And mad props to BCHS for supporting Lea’s efforts.

This is also the perfect blog post to let you know that I’ve had a surprise website in the works for the past 9 months or so. I’ve been working on it, trying to get it perfect and am finally ready for you to see it! It’s called TeachingKindness.com and will simply serve as a resource page & compliment to CTWorkingMoms. I fell in love with the idea of creating one central spot parents can find information about activities, books and videos that all inspire kindness. Extra bonus – our blogger Sarah created two sample lesson plans for teachers. She’ll be giving us the scoop next week!

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