Story by Annachiara Crea
Kindness, a value that may seem rare, is stil in the hallways of West. There are still some people who remember others, and who actually love to make other people’s happiness their daily concern.
What makes these people different is that they don’t “pay back” kindness, but they Pay It Forward by giving without receiving anything first.
“Being kind is the best way you can live your life because when you are kind, you get kindness back,” Senior Megan Creek said.
The concept of Paying It Forward is focused on the idea that being kind brings nothing but a positive effect to oneself, and that eventually is reflected onto somebody else.
This is why in 2012, Senior Christine Betts created a club at West that is all about spreading joy. “She came to me and told me that we needed to do something to improve the overall atmosphere of the school, to make it a more joyful place,” said English teacher Beth Cramer-Cumins, who is also the sponsor of Kindness Council.
Kindness Council is an organization whose aim is to bring kindness to the school and the community.
“The aim of the club is to create a better environment for students and staff and to create a better, friendlier community,” said Senior Hannah Ogden, the vice president of the club. “We promote the importance of community, self worth, self confidence, perspective, and charity,” Ogden said.
The club comes up with a different theme every month and find creative ideas to make people smile and make them feel better about themselves. “We want to make people appreciated and worth and make sure that no one is left out,” said Cramer-Cumins.
In its two years of activity, the club has achieved great goals, starting from little things such as giving fruit snacks during finals week, writing anonymous encouraging messages to random students and giving out free hot chocolate and candy canes on cold days.
“This August we have had the Appreciation week: we went around the school, picked under appreciated people -such as custodians and secretaries- and gave them candy bars and “thank you” cards,” said Creek, a member of the club. “We just want to show people that LSW is a kind place to be at,” Creek said.
But the club’s effort to help the need goes way further than the school environment: “For Thanksgiving we went to a retirement home, where we had a holiday party. We served people food and taught them dances,” said Creek. “We brought some light into their everyday life, it felt so good,” Creek said.
Homeless people, victims of natural disasters, or wherever help is needed, Kindness Council is ready to intervene.
“Last year the government shut down and we helped local food pantries to stay open so people could get milk, bread and other goods,” said Cramer-Cumins.
Even when a member of the club finds himself dealing with difficult circumstances , they certainly are not left alone.
“They [the members] raised money for my uncle, who had cancer and was going through chemo,” said Creek.
After last year’s talent show, where the club was able to raise an amount of $2,000, this year the members of Kindness Council have come up with another successful project: the Hope House Toy Drive. Hope House is a shelter which helps women who went through abusive relationships to get back on their feet. “I’ve been working with Hope House for 4 years,” said Ms. C.C. “And this year they asked the Council to help,” Cramer-Cumins said.
Without any doubt, the club has wonderfully succeeded in this challenge, raising so much as 4.878 dollars worth of toys and clothes.
“You don’t need anything back, it just feels good,” Cramer-Cumins. said.
Kindness council is all about giving. It’s about love and understanding. It’s about caring and being concerned about others’ feelings.
“We say that ‘kindness is a language that the death can hear and the blind can see’, we use this quote a lot. Without kindness, there’s no happiness. I really do think the most important value in life is to be kind,” said Creek.