It was the beginning of Kindness Week at Colchester Elementary School. “We made posters and we baked cookies and brownies,” said Carmine Rossi, a first grade student. The gifts were presented to the office staff, nurses and custodians. “We are bringing kindness to them. They do a lot of stuff for us.”
Ricky Lenda, one of Rossi’s classmates, was excited to deliver the gifts. “We all went down to the office and we gave them a poster. We unfolded it to surprise them, and they were like, ‘Oh my gosh! Thank you, guys!’”
Every year, the elementary school in Colchester, Connecticut celebrates Kindness Week. “This year, Kindness Week was more community based. How do we reach out and really be kind to people who are in need?” said school social worker Kathy Wonderly. “What can we actively do to show kindness?” The children brainstormed and chose a project to work on as a team.
Suzie Hawkins’ first grade class thought about hiding candy throughout the school, writing positive messages, and using kind words. “Someone mentioned collecting pennies for a charity.”
The class asked Judy O’Meara, the school principal, to suggest a charity that needed donations. She recommended raising money for the Colchester Parks and Recreation Summer Day Camp Scholarship Fund for children who don’t have the money for camp.
“They thought of jobs that we would need to have in order to have this penny collection,” Hawkins said.
The children made announcements, sent letters home to families, created buttons and posters, and decorated penny collection cans. They received $604.54 donations, enough to send 4 children to camp for a week.
Students in second grade helped the community of Colchester by starting a food drive. They made posters and sent letters home. “Every day, the kids went and collected the food,” said Barbara Stiles, a second grade teacher.
“They checked all of the expiration dates.” The Food Bank accepts expired, non-perishable food that is less than a year old.
“There is no limit to how much expired food they can take,” Stiles said. There is a limit on all other food items.
Over one thousand pounds of food was collected over the course of a week. Volunteers boxed and delivered the items to Colchester Social Services on 127 Norwich Avenue.
The children had questions about the Food Bank.“What types of food do you need? Does it have to be fresh food? How many people use the Food Bank? Can you donate pet food?” Amy McClafferty, the Social Services Coordinator, directly answered the questions by recording an informative video about the Food Bank for the children to watch in school.
To commemorate Kindness Week, the Bully Busters and Rotary Community Corps of Norwich donated Buddy Benches for the school’s playgrounds. “I was wondering who gave the bench to us and why we have it and what do we do with it,” asked Ana Koonankeil, a second grade student.
Koonankeil interviewed the school principal and learned the answers to her questions.
“If you don’t have anyone to play with, you can sit on this bench and someone will come over and ask you to play.” Koonankeil explained.
Koonankeil recorded a video about the bench for a schoolwide assembly.
Acts of kindness continue in Colchester Elementary School even though Kindness Week ended in April. The literacy specialist recently posted a tweet showing a colorful ceramic bowl a student made for Misty, a reading therapy dog. “Look what Sam, a 2nd grader at CES made for Misty! We tested it out today with water. Thank you for being so KIND, Sam!”
To make donations to the Colchester Parks and Recreation Day Camp, contact the office at (860) 537-7297. To make donations to the Colchester Food Bank, email Amy McCafferty at firstname.lastname@example.org.