Random Acts of Kindness Week

Smiles and warm hearts were definitely in abundance here in Missoula during Random Acts of Kindness Week.  Each school day at least one group performed a mission.  The superheroes embraced the opportunity to spread kindness through different means, bearing gifts at times and just doing for at others. More than a dozen missions were completed!

The week started with the Mayor of Missoula, John Engen, reading a proclamation during the city council meeting proclaiming the week Superhero of Kindness Week in the city of Missoula.  As he read, it was interesting watching a few heads turn up, smiles come on the faces of people sitting, and even a few “Hmmm”‘.  Of course there were three superheroes present, two current students and one alumni.  Each child had a handful of flowers, giving one to each city council member and thanking them for their service. They also left a card.  Mission complete, the young heroes went home to get a good night’s rest before more superhero shenanigans the days following.

The Silly Dragonfly group took it upon themselves to help out our wonderful school custodian.  At the end of each day, they doned their capes and emptied the garbage cans throughout the school.  It was wonderful watching the proud smiles on the children, seeing them take turns so everyone plays a role each day, and even trying to be quiet so they do not disturb others while doing their hard work.  They received a beautiful thank you card.  They also planned another mission in which they baked treats.  Well, maybe not baked as the treat was a no bake cookie.  But they made a ball of delicious chocolatey/oatmealy goodness and took it over to the senior citizen center.  This day they were able to take flowers donated by Bitterroot Floral as well.  They gave our friends the flowers and treats, and sang a couple of school songs, of course including Love Grows.

The Dancing Elephant group made treat bags to take with them on their bus ride to gymnastics.  We use the city bus system frequently, and the drivers have become friends.  Children took turns handing out a bag to each driver along the way.  The drivers smiled big.  During another adventure, the children took flowers donated by Bitterroot Floral to local businesses and establishments.  They were even recognized on the street.  I have to admit, it was a special smile that graced my face the next day when I picked up a morning cup of coffee finding a flower on my favorite coffee joint’s counter with a note from the superheroes.

The Caring Ospreys and the Wacky Wolves revisited Flor Haven, a local assisted living home we have visited before.  They had sent a note out asking for a few supplies needed by our friends.  They loaded up a wagon and walked the supplies over the few blocks.  With them, they brought heart shape cookies for a cookie party.  The residents shared cookies with the children, both enjoying them thoroughly!  A beautiful encounter occurred while the children got ready to depart.  The children do try their best, but need some assistance putting on some of their outdoor gear.  One child was trying to put her gloves on, finding it difficult.  She approached one of the residents and asked for help.  The women helped this child, working to slowly, carefully and deliberately control her shaking hands to show kindness to this little girl who had spent the morning showing kindness herself.  The memory of it still brings tears to the teacher’s eyes as she shares this priceless moment.  On their walk, the children were spotted by a person in her car who recognized them as the Superheroes of Kindness.  She stopped her car, ran out, and thanked our heroes for all they do!  She even gave each of them a sticker.

For another adventure, the Ospreys and Wolves took to the neighborhood streets.  Throughout the year we have worked to build a relationship with our neighbors, bringing them sunflowers we grew and asking for help with our food drive.  It just so happened that the school celebrated our hundredth day of school during RAK week, so in preparation for this mission they cut out 100 hearts.  Trust me, this was a fun but very lofty feat!  On the day of delivery, they took their 100 hearts along with flowers donated by Bitterroot Floral and went door to door.  But this was the kind of door to door that people hope for.  The children left a heart and sometimes a flower on doorsteps.  I can tell you we are making some good friends with some of these neighbors.  The next day, one man came by the school to bring a couple of flowers for the heroes, wanting to say thank you and show them some kindness.  We also received a nice card from one of our neighbors, letting us know the flower brought a grin to her face and that she was going to take it upon herself to pay it forward.  (Hmmm, we might have to see if any of these neighbors want to join an actual mission.  Now that would be fantastic!)

The week before RAK week, children throughout the school decorated brown grocery bags from a neighborhood grocery store as well as the Good Food Store.  The idea was that we could share a smile by brightening up a day.  And what better way to brighten a day than to brighten grocery bags.   The bags were going to be given out during RAK week.  On Monday, the Girraffe Family and the Rockin’ Raccoons walked down to Orange Street Food Farm with two goals.  First, get ingredients to bake a surprise for a mission.  Second, have the ingredients bagged in one of our beautifully decorated bags.  Well, all I can say was mission accomplished.  The next day we used our ingredients to make little pizzas.  The children spread sauce onto pita bread, they took turns shredding cheese on top, and the delicious concoctions were baked in a handy toaster oven.  Each child stood tall as a cape was placed on them, and they happily made the couple block walk to the Food Farm.  We wanted to thank the Food Farm for all they do for our school.  Of course, they let us decorate the bags to distribute during Random Acts of Kindness Week.  But they also are always so friendly to us when we randomly show up with large groups of children wishing to purchase some groceries for a project.  And I have to be honest, we do that a lot.  During our last trip, the bakery lady came out and gave us all a cookie – all 17 of us.  We took the pizzas straight back to the bakery, and boy were they surprised and very excited to see we were not only thanking them, but bringing them lunch!  We also brought a card to thank all of the employees for helping our children embrace being part of our community.

Our last mission of the week was a fun one. When someone asked what we were planning, we replied that we were hopping on a bus, each child with a flower in hand from the bundle donated by Bitterroot, and we were going to see what happens.  And we were serious.  We had a few ideas of who we wanted to hit, and knew there was City Hall, the police station, the bus transfer center, and the Courthouse at the bus stop, so we were going to see where the mood struck.  We of course gave a flower to the driver as well as fellow passengers.  Getting off the bus, we decided it felt right to walk into the courthouse and give flowers to the people at the Motor Vehicle Devision.  Yep, the DMV.  The children handed flowers to the employees as well as the the couple of patrons.  I can tell you, having sat there waiting to renew my insurance and plates on a few occasions, I have never seen so many smiles in that room before!  Definitely worth the adventure.  We were able to add a bonus adventure as we waited for our bus home – we wiped down a couple of the bus stop benches.  Boy howdy, did they need it, too!  On our walks we received several honks, some from parents at the school who saw us and some by people we don’t know but who either just liked the capes or knew who we were.

 During Random Acts of Kindness week our school held an all school potluck.  During this potluck, families were able to make pieces of a chain that would be linked together.  On each piece, families wrote words of kindness; things to remind us about being kind or things we can do to be kind.  Then everyone sat in a circle together to link the chain together.  The kindness chain is hanging in our school right now, an ever present reminder of the importance of showing compassion to others.  Our hope is this chain will continue to grow throughout this year and years to come.
Overall, it was quite the successful week!  It is impossible to capture the feelings that week brought up in many people, and absolutely impossible to capture the emotions and feelings it brought out in me!  There truly is not better feeling than the one that fills your heart and your soul when you see young children modeling the importance of kindness to their community, when you see adults eager to model the importance of continuing to take time to value kindness not just within their selves but within their community, and better yet when you see them supporting and encouraging each other.  Thanks for a great Random Acts of Kindness Week, friends!
Comments about this mission:

Hi! We are a grade 1 and 2 class from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and we’ve been looking at your blog!
I like your capes and the hearts on them and the colours. -Taylor
Your capes look awesome! -Cameron
I think your teacher is awesome because she lets you go do nice things for people. -Jadyn
It’s nice to give something to people and that’s very nice. -Nick
I like what you are doing because it is very sweet and very, very nice for others. -Rylee

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