Recess is, most often, a time for students to play or maybe have a snack.
But, at least once a month, for a group of Saint Andrew Junior School (SAJS) students, it is about affecting lives in a positive way.
“We just want to make them happy,” Charlotte Boyle said, while sitting on a couch in the office of guidance counsellor Marie Kennedy.
Charlotte is a dedicated member of the SAJS Guidance Advisory Group, which is made up of Grade 7 and 8 students at the Antigonish school.
“It is about giving them the chance to have a say in projects that make people feel good,” Kennedy explained, when asked about the genesis of the group.
“We have developed some really good leaders.”
It is the second year for the group.
“We develop initiatives throughout the year and the main focus is primarily on positive mental health projects developed by the students,” Kennedy said.
She described the advisory group as “an awesome group of kids.”
“I thought it would be a lot of fun,” Gracie Glencross said, as her fellow group members nodded in agreement, when asked about their participation.
Fiona Polson added she wanted to do things “to make peoples’ day better.”
The group promotes the importance of random acts of kindness throughout the school, including awarding monthly prizes in which students can sink their teeth.
Each SAJS classroom has a collection of pink ballots, which students are encouraged to use, when they see someone do an act of kindness.
The person’s name placed on a ballot goes into a draw for a Subway gift card, with 10 winners selected each month.
“It is about making someone feel special,” Charlotte said.
To the community
They will continue making people ‘feel special’ in a few weeks with Random Acts of Kindness – SAJS Style, a project they are taking outside the school.
“We wanted to take it to the community,” Kennedy said.
They will do that Dec. 15, when they board a bus and make their way to various locations in Antigonish, where they will recognize people for their efforts with a token of appreciation.
“They really don’t get recognized enough for what they do,” Fiona said of the planned recipients.
“They have hard jobs,” Charlotte added.
The group would not reveal where they will be going or what they will be doing on that day. They want the recipients to be surprised by receiving the kindnesses.
The goal is to impact at least 500 people in ‘a lot of feel good ways.’
To help fund this project, group members applied for a grant from Awesome Foundation Antigonish.
Charlotte described the night they made their Awesome Foundation Antigonish as “suspenseful,” while noting their surprise in winning, considering the quality of the other presenters, including one that created a mental health game.
“They did an excellent job,” Kennedy said of their presentation.
The group also plans to create “wellness boxes” for Grade 8 students, which will include a variety of items.
“It is going to be a box of coping strategies,” Kennedy noted.