In an effort to positively affect school climate and reduce bullying, students in Milford High School are taking matters into their own hands through Students for a Million Acts of Kindness, which launched this week.
More than 850 acts of kindness were documented as of Wednesday, with 203 notes of kindness written to staff members during S.M.A.K.’s kick-off event on Tuesday, said Wellness Center Counselor Su Chafin, who has agreed to completely shave her head if the students reach one million acts of kindness on the online database.
“It started as a bit of a joke with the kids, but I’m very impressed by them. It’s really driven by the students,” Chafin said. “I tell the kids if they can’t be by-standers, neither can we. We cannot just stand by bullying.”
S.M.A.K. encourages students to engage in kind acts, no matter how large or small, in order to eliminate bullying and have a positive influence on both peers and staff members. On Tuesday, an informational table was set up at Milford High School and students were encouraged to document their acts of kindness and write letters of appreciation to staff members.
“This is a lot of stuff they’re already doing,” Chafin said. “I wanted them to have attention for the good things they’re already doing so the things they were doing will grow. It’s still high school and there will still be issues, but we’ll see how it goes and we can already see a small group of kids making a difference.”
For junior Dylan Bradley, the S.M.A.K. initiative is a way for him to share with his peers how kind acts can help counter bullying.
“I was a bully victim. I don’t want anyone to go through what I did and I think my classmates are realizing that, too,” Bradley said. “If we get rid of bullying, there will be millions of people living happier lives. And it can be something simple, like picking up trash, giving compliments, giving a hug. It can be anything as long as you’re not downsizing, dissing or being sarcastic about it.”
High school clubs and organizations are also participating in the initiative by making signs and banners that will remind students to work on increasing acts of kindness within each school.
“We want to keep it as a running theme as kids walk through the building so they can see it all the time,” said Spanish teacher Cami Morgan. “This all started with the kids and they’ve really jumped into it. They have so many ideas, we don’t know where to start.”
Page 2 of 2 - The high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance hosted the kick-off event as the first mass act of student kindness, and other student organizations, like the drama club and FFA, have agreed to participate to generate larger numbers toward the goal of one million acts of kindness.
While the pay-off is the possibility of Chafin shaving her head and a huge assembly with shaving cream pies included, it’s about making a difference in how students, teachers and staff treat each other, Chafin said.
“As we talk about it more, our mindsets are changing, we’re kinder to one another,” she said. “It’s a call to action in a positive way.”
Students can log their acts of kindness by following the link on the school’s website or at https://sites.google.com/site/mhswellness/. For more information, contact the Wellness Center at 424-6120.