#kindness1billion: Orange County schools cultivate community through the Great Kindness Challenge

Corey Elementary School kindergartners hold their medals for participating in Kinder Kindness Week at Buena Park School District.
Corey Elementary School kindergarteners earn medals for participating in the Buena Park School District’s Kinder Kindness Week.

Throughout the week of Jan. 23, students across Orange County set out to leave a positive impact on their schools and communities by participating in the Great Kindness Challenge.

This national program, created by the nonprofit Kids for Peace and endorsed by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, is dedicated to recording as many acts of kindness as possible in just a single week.

For kind acts that happen all year long, OCDE has its own One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign, which aims to promote character, improve school climates and amplify civility. Educators, students and community members can log the kindness they see at kindness1billion.org.

This year’s theme for the weeklong initiative was “Grow Kindness,” which encouraged students to let kindness flourish by following checklists or crafting their own creative ideas for how to share compassion on campus.

In the Brea Olinda Unified School District, students at Mariposa Elementary School celebrated the challenge by greeting arriving classmates with pompoms and signs written with encouraging words.

Meanwhile, the Buena Park School District hosted its second annual Kinder Kindness Week, where students learned how to foster more positive environments at school, at home and in their communities.

About 375 kindergartners throughout the district created artwork representing the ways they spread kindness, like making new friends, planting trees, using good manners and tidying up their neighborhoods. Each school has placed the students’ drawings on display in the hopes of passing on goodwill to their classmates and visiting parents.

“I hope that the Kinder Kindness event inspires our students to be kind year-round,” said special projects teacher Charlene Ball in a press release. “We want to teach students that their first instinct should be kindness and that it’s always best to be naturally kind.”

At the end of the Kinder Kindness festivities, each Buena Park student was rewarded with a medal or superhero cape for their efforts to care for their community.

The OCDE Newsroom has gathered a collection of social media posts showcasing some of the ways that schools and districts accomplished the Great Kindness Challenge in their classrooms.

Fullerton SD

Has your class, school or district spread kindness this week? Submit your recent act of kindness at kindness1billion.org. Districts and schools can learn more about how to get involved with the Great Kindness Challenge at greatkindnesschallengetools.org.