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Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

A lesson in kindness. I found the following press release in my inbox and think anything that promotes a little more in our society is worth passing along to you.

In response to the recent NY area storms and in recognition of World Kindness Week (Nov. 12-16), The Be Kind People Project (BKPP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the overall education environment in our communities, (which has delivered over 63,000 Teacher appreciation gifts to classrooms around the country and over 1.6 million Be Kind Pledge cards to students this year), will bring hope, help and relief to 10,000 New York area teachers and will deliver Classroom Kindness Kits to 250,000 students the week of November 26-30.

 The organization will also honor thousands of teachers throughout the country with gifts of appreciation from students, through the high-energy It’s Cool 2B Kind assemblies. This week, the BKPP also launched a national essay contest focusing on “How a Minute of Kindness Can Change a Day” and is mobilizing efforts to provide tangible needs to those in the NY area affected by the storms.

 While in New York, The Be Kind Crew will not only provide for the needs of the community, but will give students the opportunity to thank those who have helped with the relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy by distributing 50,000 cards during their assemblies.  Additionally, BKPP is bringing 20,000 personal messages of encouragement for New York students from their peers in other cities, so they also know people are keeping them in their thoughts and prayers.   There is also a drive for needed goods being organized to help in emotional and tangible ways.

 These assemblies incorporate classical dance techniques, urban style, hip hop rhythms and slam poetry to communicate BKPP’s message in ways that kids find exciting, engaging and fun.  The NY assemblies aim to bring hope to NY area students and a moment of relief and encouragement, while providing for immediate needs, in a difficult time for everyone.

 Featured in USA Today as the project launched 1 year ago this month, The BKPP has affected millions of students in its effort to help counteract school behavior issues such as bullying and negative things that school kids face on a daily basis.

 “Students are hungry for these kinds of positive, constructive experiences, which provide a solid foundation of self-respect and effective antidote to the scourge of bullying in schools,” says The Be Kind People Project Founder and CEO Marcia Meyer. “One of our ‘Be Kind Kids’ so eloquently said, ‘Kindness is a force that can attack bullying and overthrow it.’ We believe that kindness can become an ongoing and vital part of student’s lives, extending beyond the classroom to affect their peer relationships and transform their communities.”

 Included in the gifts being distributed to each NYC student this month, teachers will find heartfelt messages of thanks and colorful silicone sports watches. The watches commemorate the organization’s conviction that when it comes to educating children, “Every Minute Counts.” Additionally, teachers will receive resources for their classrooms that consist of tools for students to use and express kindness and give thanks to others. Also provided are materials for parents and students that can be utilized to thank teachers for their dedication and hard work. Materials include free e-cards available on The Be Kind People Project website, www.thebekindpeopleproject.org.

 Throughout the next 4-6 weeks, BKPP will target including multiple major cities across the country that encompass some of the nation’s most challenging and underprivileged school districts. These cities include Los Angeles, Calif., Sacramento, Calif., Las Vegas, Nev., South Dakota, S.D., Phoenix, Ariz., New Mexico, N.M., Oklahoma City, Okla., Tulsa, Okla., Kansas City, Kans., Delaware, Md., Philadelphia, PA., Washington DC and New York, N.Y., and will focus on the delivery of Classroom Kindness Kits to teachers. The organization’s efforts will be conducted in association with Teach for America.  TFA recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding individuals of all academic disciplines, committing to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Through their shared vision, BKPP aims to equip schools with a positive approach to student relationships as well as support appropriate school behaviors that confront challenges such as bullying and other issues.

 Lastly, BKPP recently launched their second annual National Essay Contest: “How a Minute of Kindness Can Change a Day.” Students in grades K-8 are invited to submit original essays that demonstrate how kindness impacts their life in the classroom, at home, with friends and in the community at large. Each of the winners will receive personal rewards, a cash prize for their schools and have their essay published on TheBeKindPeopleProject.org. Winners will also be recognized through social media, in press releases and by receiving Kindness Star certificates…

Comment: The BKPP  hopes to “cultivate a culture of kindness” by helping kids experience the happiness that can be attained through being encouraging and supportive of others. It’s a great lesson for kids to learn. Adults too.

For more information on The Be Kind People Project, including how your can get involved, go to TheBeKindPeopleProject.org  or check it out on Facebook.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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