MAHOPAC, N.Y. -Students from Austin Road, Fulmar Road, and Lakeview schools participated in the Great Kindness Challenge from Jan. 25-29 joining thousands of schools across the country in a weeklong celebration that supports students in creating a culture of kindness and compassion while strengthening their social and emotional well-being. The Great Kindness Challenge (GKC) is a national proactive and positive bullying prevention initiative that improves school climate and increases student engagement.

In Mahopac, the halls were filled with bulletin boards reminding students of the week’s theme. They participated in kindness challenges such as giving out compliments, writing letters and playing with new friends. Each day started with a quote and a mindful moment focusing students on being kind to someone: self, parents, teachers, friends, and classmates. Activities throughout the week included reading books, singing songs, and completing art projects centered around kindness. Some additional activities included creating Valentine’s Day letters for the troops, and Classroom Kindness Jars that gave students the opportunity to reflect each day by writing one way they were kind and placing it in the jar, making a classwide heart-shaped photo collage, and encouraging students to be kind to themselves by spending 10 minutes each day stretching, doing yoga, meditating, or practicing mindfulness.