Students at Princess Margaret Secondary pose for a group portrait in their new “Be Kind… just because” t-shirts. Steve Kidd/Western News

Taking kindness to a new level

Students make thoughtfulness a year-round initiative

Anti-bullying day is coming up on Feb. 28, but a group of leadership students at Princess Margaret Secondary aren’t willing to wait that long, or for that matter, restrict the idea to just one day.

“It’s not that we don’t appreciate anti-bullying day and what it stands for,” said Sarah Wood, one of the organizers of the “Be kind … just because” initiative at Maggie.

You can not be a bully, yet not be kind, explained Wood, another of the organizers. Being kind is both a simpler and more active message than just not bullying and it needs to be promoted every day, not just once a year, she said.

“This is also a campaign that lasts all year,” said Kyla Finlayson, another organizer.

The first act of kindness was distributing free T-shirts to every student in the school, all emblazoned with “Be kind … just because” front and back, and in a variety of colours, including pink.

By having events once a month, where students are encouraged to wear their T-shirts, the goal is to remind students of what kindness looks like as a thoughtful, purposeful goal.

“Simple things are probably the best. Like just opening a door for someone who’s struggling or helping someone carry their books to their class,” said Kascia Lovett. “I always appreciate when someone does that for me.”

The idea behind this initiative came from an Alberta high school, where it has been successful. The students are hoping for similar outcomes here.

Sandra Richardson, instructor of the leadership class, said the while a positive movement, just promoting anti-bullying allowed some to opt out.

“It allows people to say I’m not a bully so I’m not worried about this day, whereas being kind is just how people should be living,” said Richardson. “It’s more inclusive.”

There is a major act of kindness involved already, by Sherwood Trophies, who came on board with the project and made a significant contribution to the school ensuring each of the students could receive a free T-shirt.

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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