Kindness Chain Links Awareness, Acceptance, And Accountability
4-week Kindness Campaign Unites Entire Cardinal Middle School Student Body
Middlefield, OH – What started as an idea to raise awareness about Autism during the month of April, turned into an eight week kindness campaign that spread across the entire student body at Cardinal Middle School. Earlier this year, STARS teacher Kelly Oblaczynski approached CMS Principal, Dr. Jennifer Sabol about launching a school-wide project to raise awareness for Autism for Autism Awareness month in April. “Dr. Sabol was on board with the idea from the onset,” says Oblaczynski, “but, she asked if I could tie in the Autism awareness with the ‘because I said I would’ principles students had an assembly on at the beginning of the year – and the ideas just grew from there!”
During the month of April, students had mini-awareness sessions during their advisory periods twice a week. Each week, students would discuss different aspects of Autism while completing a project that involved the principles of the ‘because I said I would’ campaign: compassion, self- control, sacrifice, honesty, hope, contemplation, and accountability. “The students at the middle school all participated,” says Oblaczynski. “Each time I asked something of them, from asking a question to making a promise, they all came through – I would receive piles of note cards with suggestions back.”
Activities included asking questions about Autism, brainstorming ideas on bullying prevention and making posters, creating an encouragement board, leaving positive comments on lockers, and what turned out to be the most inspiring project – the kindness chain challenge. “It was so cool to see this particular project come to life and literally take over the halls in school,” says Principal Dr. Sabol. The kindness chain was a joint project between STARS students and the CMS Builders Club. Students and staff were challenged to perform an act of kindness and then write that action on a strip of paper. Each grade was assigned a different color of paper to write their kindness acts on. Students and staff turned in the slips of paper, the strips were then linked together in a chain and hung along the hallways. “When it was all said and done at the end of the year, the kindness chain stretched all the way down nearly to the end of the main hallway in our building – it was the length of three basketball courts,” says Dr. Sabol. “That’s a lot of kindness and it was heartwarming to see it all unfold.”
“I wanted to give the students a chance to ask questions about Autism and educate them,” says Oblaczynski. “The more people are educated, the more people will learn to accept. The other activities gave students a chance to be kind and learn how to be more aware of the things they do.” Dr. Sabol and Ms. Oblaczynski both say they hope students are remembering and applying their kindness activities and ‘because I said I would’ principles during the summer break and hope to continue part of the campaign, in some way, during the next school year.
Photo Caption Kindness Chain: The start of what would become a lengthy “Kindness Chain” at Cardinal Middle School. Students wrote their acts of kindness on a strip of paper, the strips were then linked together and hung as a chain down the main hall at CMS.
Photo Caption Lockers: Students place words of encouragement and kindness on every locker at Cardinal Middle School. The activity was part of a kindness campaign at school during the month of April.
Main Photo Caption Builders club promise: Members of the Cardinal Middle School Builders Club sign a promise to help create a kindness chain in school.