“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.”
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
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.
"It's hard to make friends when you're talking to a screen," said Cascade Middle School student David.
Students right now are learning and making social connections in an entirely new way, and that change can be stressful.
Mel Butterfield, who works for Lines for Life a teen-to-teen help line, says that their call volume has increased about 18 percent this year from students reaching out for help. Additionally, a higher percentage of the students calling the help line are reaching out due to loneliness and isolation. Butterfield says one of the challenges students are encountering is that the adults who they might typically turn to for help are also inundated with their own stress right now.
"Adults are also struggling and that's a huge shift," said Butterfield. "And people just don't seem very nice to each other right now.
She said many students are also feeling the stress of living in a polarized, divided world.She encourages adults to try to listen, as much as possible, without reaction to help students feel safe and feel comfortable.
"The really good thing is that students are still reaching out, still having conversations!" said Butterfield.
We invite families, students, staff and community members to share their stories of kindness. Click on the plus symbol below and add your story of kindness.