inspirED Case Study: Northwest Regional District 7

Project Name: Kindness in Motion

School Name: Northwest Regional District 7

Location: Winstead, CT

Description:

Northwest Regional District 7 created school-wide projects to spread kindness throughout the community, based on the idea of a ripple effect of kind acts.

The Opportunity: Kindness in Motion was created with the idea that maybe one kind act could create a ripple effect across the globe. To test this idea, Northwest Regional District 7 developed a contest, with the question: How would you use $100 to spread kindness? Within days, applications started to arrive and with the support of community donors for 8 separate projects, students developed their plans and worked on their kindness projects.

The Project: Some students used the $100 grant as seed money.  For example, one group purchased $100 worth of items for a pancake breakfast.  Then, together with a local fire department, they put on a community pancake breakfast, which raised over $3,000 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Other students simply used the money to purchase items that would bring joy to others. One student who was adopted from an orphanage in China decided to purchase yarn and make dolls for the children still living in the orphanage because she remembered not having any toys. The school’s Chinese teacher helped her write a letter to accompany the dolls.  All of these projects held special meaning for the students, and their unique forms of kindness helped to create a sense of joy and kinship within the school and the broader community.

The Impact: Kindness in Motion grew in other ways as word of these projects spread throughout the communities. One community member stepped forward to offer Kindness in Motion Scholarships to two graduating seniors. She has promised $70,000 for scholarships in the future and is offering a large cash prize to the students who have the biggest impact on the greater good. The school’s teachers have taken an active role in supporting Kindness in Motion. This year, administrators and InspirED Team members addressed the faculty to describe their experiences at the Facebook Changemaker Summit and to share their vision for the future. The school’s teachers will now be supporting student Kindness in Motion ideas that result from classroom lessons and activities.  

The Future: The project’s mission is to empower students to make the changes they want to see in the world.  A newly formed, student-led InspirED Team now has a more prominent role in unveiling and planning the new 2016 Kindness in Motion program.

My advice for schools embarking on this kind of project is to encourage every single dream and vision that comes to you.  As adults, it is easy to point out what may go wrong or why an idea won’t work.  But, we have found that by never saying “no” the students accomplished much more than we ever imagined!”

Judy Palmer, inspirED faculty advisor, Superintendent, Regional School District No. 7