Call it the ripple effect, when one single act of kindness impacts not only the recipient, but the giver, those witnessing and even those who may hear about it in the future.

That’s the idea behind the One Billion Acts of Kindness initiative, which was launched on May 5 by the Orange County Department of Education. So far, nearly 17,000 kind acts have been logged, and now a new school year presents new opportunities to promote compassion on campus and in your community.

“I encourage our schools to embrace this opportunity to celebrate and promote kindness in our classrooms, in our county and beyond,” said Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares. “I truly believe we have the potential to reach one billion. At the same time, let us be mindful of the fact that even a single kind act has the power to change lives while instilling in our students vital lessons on character and service to others.”

As the name of the campaign suggests, the long-term goal is to register one billion good deeds. But the broader objective is to promote civility, character and, as previously mentioned, positive school climates.

Whether you’re a student, parent, school employee or community member, here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Register your acts of kindness. Participants can register good deeds at www.kindness1billion.org with just one click of the mouse. Or use the option to share multiple acts at once, particularly if you’ve completed a schoolwide or group effort.
  • Share acts of kindness on social media. Acts of kindness can be posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #kindness1billion. Each will count toward the total.
  • Submit a story of kindness. Share a story of a kind act, or acts, by visiting the website and clicking on “Share Your Story.” These submissions will also count toward the total and could be featured in the Kindness Korner on the OCDE Newsroom.
  • Use the available media resources to promote the initiative. Visit the website’s Media section to find graphic resources available for download. For example, there are several types of logos available, as well as a graphic specifically for use in an email signature. The materials can be printed and posted throughout campus or used digitally in presentations.
  • Take advantage of professional learning opportunities. There is an excellent OCDE web page dedicated to professional learning opportunities aligned with the One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign. The page breaks down opportunities based on profession and provides details available for each opportunity.
  • Follow OCDE on social media. We can all use a reminder that good people are out there doing kind things. Follow OCDE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay connected — and help us spread the word.

So go forth and start your own kindness ripple effect. You never know when — or if — it will end.