Middle school students from Bend-La Pine Schools are joining with local leaders in a regional campaign to encourage students, families, community members and residents of Central Oregon to choose kindness on November 13, and all year long, to create a kinder Central Oregon.
World Kindness Day, Nov. 13, is a global day that promotes the importance of being kind to each other, to yourself and to the world. This day has the purpose is to help everyone understand that compassion for others is what binds us all together.
“Kindness is a wonderful and inclusive thing and we hope to see that grow in our community,” said Nikolette, eighth-grader from Cascade Middle School. “I want to be part of this positivity, to live in a community that is filled with kindness and that has the courage to be kind.”
Students are spearheading Central Oregon’s Choose Kindness campaign, a regional effort to promote kindness and civility, that includes City of Bend, Bend Park & Recreation District, Central Oregon Community College, St. Charles Health System, Oregon State University - Cascades and more. The campaign will include social media graphics and stories highlighting kindness, and videos featuring ten local middle school students, sharing lessons they have learned about kindness and its powerful impact.
“Our students learn from the actions and atmosphere they experience in our schools and in our community,” said Interim Superintendent Lora Nordquist. “We believe Central Oregonians will find inspiration in the words and actions of our students to come together and choose kindness, which in turn will have a positive impact of the education of all students.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, students who learn in positive learning environments that are safe, supportive and engaging are more likely to improve academically, participate more fully in the classroom and develop skills that will help them be successful in school and in life.
Students hope their effort will result in viral messages of hope, kindness and positivity throughout November and into 2021 and they challenge Central Oregonians to show simple acts of kindness in the coming weeks.
“A little gesture of kindness - warm words of support or gratitude - might just help others in our community who are having a tough day feel like someone cares,” said Bend Mayor Sally Russell. “As a caring community we can get through these unprecedented times together. We can show support for each other by making kindness a priority. A little kindness goes a long way!”
Kindness is a value for many communities in Central Oregon.
“Kindness if one of the things that makes La Pine small town strong. Things like our volunteerism, our donation to needy organizations that help out the community and our kindness to citizens and tourists alike that visit or live in our community,” said La Pine Mayor Daniel Lee Richer.
The middle school students taking part in this effort are leaders and mentors in their school’s Where Everyone Belongs program, which is designed to train eighth-graders to serve as mentors for sixth- and seventh-graders and to reduce bullying and increase school safety.
Central Oregon’s Choose Kindness campaign encourages people of all ages to find ways to create a kinder Central Oregon. Students shared that very easy, simple acts of kindness can have a huge effect on those around them. Some suggestions include: