Washington Avenue Elementary School students proved it's cool to be kind by participating in last week's Great Kindness Challenge, an innovative bully prevention initiative where students do as many kind acts as possible, choosing from a 25-item checklist.

What started with three schools in California in 2012, has grown to over 4 million students in 7,700 schools in 61 countries! This positive proactive and powerful week mobilized students worldwide to create schools that are respectful, safe, compassionate and kind.

Washington Avenue School students and staff members embraced this challenge wholeheartedly by completing 3,905 acts of kindness!! The week started off with a pep rally followed by four spirit days, including “Crazy for Kindness Day” when the students wore crazy clothes and hair, “Team Up for Kindness” when students wore their favorite sports jersey and “Dream of Kindness” when the entire school wore their pajamas!

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Throughout the week there were various activities promoting kindness. The classes decorated their doors in a kindness theme, some students entered the “Kindness Matters” book challenge where they wrote and illustrated a page answering the question, “What action will make our world kinder?”

Also during the week, Kindness Stations were set up during recess where students filled out compliment cards, made Valentines for a local nursing home and wrote notes to people they appreciate. On Thursday, the students “flash decorated” the custodian, nurse and security officer’s posts with kind words and letters of thanks.

The week closed with a celebration of kindness and a special visit from Jets player, Ryan Quigley, who spoke to the students about how important kindness is in professional sports and how involved many sports figures are in helping others.

This program was a large part of the school’s ongoing Kindness Campaign that was launched last school year in conjunction with the PTO. Kelly Medvin, Washington Avenue School Counselor, said it was the happiest week of the year. She was thrilled to see how many students were willing to give up their recess to write compliment cards and make Valentines for the elderly. She noticed a real sense of community amongst the entire school that she hopes will continue throughout the year.

Please contact Kelly Medvin at 973.457.2510 ext. 7012 with any questions.