Anybody can donate money or time on Giving Tuesday, but a girls’ prep school in New York City is encouraging students, staff, alumnae and the public to participate in a social-media fueled kindness campaign that will last for the rest of the school year.
“Service is really one of the characteristics that our students identify with,” Flora Lugo, the school’s director of recruitment and admissions, told TODAY.com. “We collaborated to team up with our students and our community, and show our service component to not only our community, but to the state and the nation. And hopefully, it’ll go global.”
In honor of the 85th anniversary of St. Jean Baptiste High School, staffers launched the “85 Acts of Kindness” campaign Monday. The initiative asks students in each homeroom class to perform a combined 85 acts of kindness by May, and post photos of their works to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #85KindActs and the handle @stjeanhs.
St. Jean Baptiste students also are reviving the school’s Toys For Tots program, which had been dormant at the school for six years, according to Lugo.
Although participation isn’t mandatory, seniors Annie Garcia and Deja Jenkins are on board with the campaign. Both 17-year-olds have been volunteering at local day-care centers.
“I help them read,” Garcia, a co-vice president of the school’s National Honor Society, said. “And I help them with activities like painting.”
Added Jenkins, who’s vice-president of the school’s student council, “I love waking up in the morning, knowing that I am giving back to these children.”
As additional examples of good deeds, school officials encouraged students to serve the underprivileged, tutor, speak out against bullying, and empower girls. But even the smallest acts of kindness count toward the greater goal, as evidenced by a recent post to the school’s Instagram account.
Educators are also getting in on the good deeds, Lugo said.
“One of the faculty members made brownies for the entire faculty and staff,” Lugo said. “And the AP government teacher made apple pie for the faculty and staff. It’s the little things that go a long way. Feeding people makes everyone happier.”
The school plans to hold a June reception to honor participants.
Lugo added that students won't receive academic credit for their societal contributions, partly because kindness is its own reward.
“It can be the smallest thing you can do,” Lugo said, “and it could still make a difference in the world.”
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