SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Several members of the South Plainfield Board of Education (BOE) took to the dais this week wearing the ‘Be Kind’ T-shirts they purchased as part of an awareness and fundraising ‘random acts of kindness’ (RAK) effort that recently took place at the high school. 

During the BOE’s April 10 meeting, South Plainfield High School (SPHS) students Brianna Slover and Dylan Silverstein, members of TigerRAK, discussed the week of kindness initiative, which took place Feb. 19 through Feb. 22. 

“What our club does is promote the well-being of the student body and encourage good behavior,” Silverstein told the BOE. 

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“The week of kindness program was designed with the intent of creating a more positive environment for the students and staff,” added Slover. 

SPHS’s week of kindness kicked off with ‘Chalk Walk’ with club members welcoming students, teachers and visitors with positive quotes at two of the high schools entrances. Throughoutout the week, a coloring book drive to benefit Robert Wood Johnson’s Bristol Myer’s Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick was held and positive messages written on Post-It notes were spread around the school.

TigerRAK also launched a yearlong effort through which ‘random act of kindness’ and ‘pay it forward’ cards are handed out to students and, as part of the initiative, the group  teamed up with the school’s Peer Leadership members to sell different colored ‘Be Kind’ T-shirts for a fundraiser to benefit various local charities. 

“When we started the shirt initiative, we figured if we sold 20, 30 shirts, it would be a lot; we ended up selling over 300 shirts,” said SPHS Principal Ronnie Spring, adding that around $1,000 was raised and will be donated to various charities. “Staff in other schools were phenomenal with orders coming in.” 

Proceeds from pink shirts supported breast cancer awareness with money donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; green shirts supported mental health and money went to Mental Health America; purple shirts supported animal abuse and raised money for the ASPCA; yellow shirts raised awareness for substance abuse with proceeds benefiting NCADD; red shirts supported heart disease awareness with money going to the American Heart Association; black shirts supported and raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project; and light blue shirts supported autism awareness with proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks. 

“It really took off and says a lot about the students and the community; everyone wanted to jump in and get involved in the kindness initiative,” Spring said. “When people talk about what South Plainfield is all about, out of everything this, to me, sums it up.”

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