“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples” – Mother Teresa
Special to the Herald
The students of Leakesville Elementary School are hoping to start an amazing initiative in their school and community. This school wide project is aimed at the students learning how to be the change they want to see in the world. During the month of February, the school always does various activities to bring awareness to Black History Month, but this year not only did the students learn about Black History, they also studied how one random act of kindness could help people connect and make a big difference in how we treat one another. LES Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Turner initiated the project and Principal Shalonda Hollingsworth purchased books for each grade level to use as the introduction of the project.
The book, Each Kindness, was written by award-winning African American authors Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis. It won the Coretta Scott King Honor and The Jane Addams Peace Award.
“This book has a powerful message that each child can connect with and remember,” Turner says. “Unfortunately, students do not always understand the power of their actions and words, but through literature like this they can see multiple perspectives of characters in a non-threatening way.”
“The book is filled with descriptive language, a suspenseful plot, realistic characters and beautiful illustrations. I hope our students will remember this book and these activities for the rest of their lives.”
In the book, the teacher gave each student a small rock or pebble to drop in a bowl of water to see how the ripples spread through the water. This was done to demonstrate how even small acts of kindness can change the world.
After reading the book with their teachers, each class at LES engaged in the same activity and then each student got the opportunity to paint a “kindness rock” to help spread encouraging words and begin the ripple of kindness and smiles throughout the community.
Some of these rocks will be placed in the school’s “Rock Garden” for students and visitors to read or take and hide around the community. Kindness Rocks designed by first graders at the school were shared with visitors at the school’s annual Black History Program on Feb. 28 with the hopes those people would place them somewhere in the community for others to find.
Hollingsworth, Turner and the students and staff at LES encourage residents to be on the lookout for their rocks and to come to the school garden and “take one when you need one or share with a friend who needs some inspiration.
To further spread the message and the impact of the project, people who receive a “kindness rock” or find one in the community are asked to go to the Greene County Herald’s Facebook page (@greenecoherald) and post a photo with their rock with the hashtag #KindnessRocks.
“One message at just the right moment can change someone’s whole day,” Turner said. “Even with all the negative things that sometimes swirl around us each day, one thing is a given. Kindness does rock.“