For approximately two years, a group of Lee’s Summit West High School students have worked together to spread kindness throughout their school, contribute to the community and raise awareness about important issues. Known as the Kindness Council, the organization began when student Christine Betts approached teacher Beth Cramer-Cumins with an idea for a new club.
Kindness Club members determine a monthly focus, such as charity, love or friendship, and the group’s approximately 30 members hand out random notes to students or staff members showing care and kindness at school. At LSW, the club also sponsors appreciation weeks for staff members in various areas such as custodians, paraprofessionals, secretaries, bus drivers and health room staff. To welcome new teachers, the organization presented small gifts to new employees as well new student teachers.
On cold days, club members can be found serving hot chocolate to students as they arrived at school. During finals, the group provides healthy snacks for students. Just recently, the Kindness Club distributed reusable water bottles at LSW in honor of April’s Earth Day.
Examples of outreach activities sponsored by the club include supporting Hope House, helping stock the Lee’s Summit Coldwater pantry with items needed by young children, providing books for underprivileged children, raising money for the American Cancer Society, packing and donating survival packs (featuring items such as water, healthy treats and soap) for homeless persons through Reconciliation Services and contributing school supplies and clothing for flood victims.
As part of efforts to raise awareness, the club highlights important issues such as homelessness, domestic violence, bullying, diversity and equality by providing information at LSWHS.
“All of this takes an extraordinary amount of dedication and planning, but we have a wonderful core group of students,” said Ms. Cramer-Cumins.
The Kindness Council works quietly in the background at the school and has not sought recognition, believing that the gift is in the giving.
Annually, the Kindness Club does step into the spotlight in order to raise funds for their charitable efforts. During spring 2014 and spring 2015, the club sponsored a faculty/student talent show designed to showcase talents of a wide variety of students and employees at LSWHS. The show is scheduled for April 24 at the school’s performing arts center, and all proceeds go directly to fund Kindness Council outreach programs.
Kindness Council members distribute reusable bottles at LSWHS on Earth Day.