BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Maumee Middle School students are learning how they can use kindness to help their community.
The students in Kristi Biniker’s seventh-grade elective class were tasked with the job of using acts of kindness to help others this quarter.
“Last year, we did random acts of kindness in this class. We talk a lot about kindness and understanding other people and having empathy, but last year we didn’t really do anything where they were accountable for it, it was just more of an honor system,” Biniker said.
This year, her students pitched ideas on how to spread kindness throughout the school and community, in big or small ways.
Together, the class then voted on their favorite ideas before breaking off into groups to get organized.
One group, consisting of Rylund Timmermans, Collin Hallett, Wyatt Sweet, R’mani Jackson and Cam Zbydnowski, went to work creating kindness notes to spread around the school.
“If someone is having a bad day and they’re down on themselves, it can lift them up and (help them) feel better about their day,” Cam said.
More than 500 notes were placed on the lockers of Maumee Middle School students during a recent week.
To complete a project like this, the group of boys made over 100 different notes with positive messages, decorating them on the computer with different colors and images.
Once several copies of each note were printed, the group enlisted the help of their classmates in order to get the notes out swiftly while their fellow students were in class, surprising them all with the small act of kindness.
“It was a lot of taping for everyone and a lot of notes. They put a lot of work into it,” Biniker said.
The notes included reminders to be kind and offered encouragement and advice for the middle schoolers.
“We’re just trying to bring people kindness,” R’mani said. “Hopefully, everyone will bring kindness to the world and not be mean to others.”
Watching the whole class work together on the project was important to Biniker, she said, noting the value of teaching the kids about mental and emotional health in class.
“I wanted the class to take part in just doing something kind for somebody else and thinking about how that can make them feel, how it makes other people feel,” Biniker said.
The class has enjoyed the project, she added. Students were excited to help organize and plan the notes and get involved in spreading positivity around the school.
Next up, the five boys who spearheaded the kindness notes project will be supporting another group in their class with their project: a food drive.
“We contacted Under One Roof and we have their supply list. We will challenge all the homerooms to compete against each other,” Biniker said.
The second group has assigned points to each item on the supply list, which they will use to tally up the total number earned in each homeroom to determine a winner.
The students have designed a flyer to place around the school and a slideshow to show in each homeroom, so the rest of the school can get involved in helping their community.
The food drive will be held the week of October 9-13 and students will be encouraged to bring in as many items as they can to their homeroom before Biniker’s class distributes them to Under One Roof, which provides local families in need with food, toiletries and other necessities.