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West Texas elementary students in club to promote kindness

January 3, 2019

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — For Buice Elementary School students who want to make their world a little better, there’s a club for that.

The Odessa American reports it’s called SPARK, or Students Promoting Acts of Random Kindness, and it’s the brainchild of third-grade teacher Sara Cox. There are about 25 third, fourth and fifth-grade students involved who meet every Thursday.

“I just was thinking about the world these kids are growing up in. It’s a really challenging and self-gratifying world. I just wanted their education to be more about just their academic performance and their grades. I want them to know that feeling you get when you do something kind for someone else and I want them to build a sense of altruism and compassion that they can just take with them as they keep going through school,” Cox said.

Cox wants kindness to become a habit for the students so they won’t think twice about being kind and compassionate and wondering what they can do for others. The idea is for the club to be student-driven with youngsters devising their own ideas for projects.

“They’re going to take ownership of all the good things that they’re doing,” Cox said.

On a recent Thursday, students were working fleece blankets to donate to the Humane Society of Odessa.

Their next project is to make 100 to 200 blessing bags for the homeless. The bags will include socks, hygiene items, bottled water and some snacks.

“We’ve teamed up with Jesus House and the Walks of Faith charity and they’re going to distribute those for us,” Cox said.

Club members also write anonymous notes for people around campus.

″. I want them always thinking about, ‘What can I do for others?’ So I give them a task and they have until the next week to complete it. Our first one was they had to think about somebody who doesn’t get a lot of praise in school like custodians, or aides, or maybe our assistant principal. They’ve had to write an encouraging note just saying, ‘We appreciate you’ and we don’t sign our names on it. They give them to me and I try to sneak them in (their) boxes,” Cox said.

Adriel Attaway, a 9-year-old third-grader, Abigail Carrasco, an 11-year-old fifth-grader, and Aleah Conn, a 9-year-old third-grader like the feeling helping out gives them.

For Carrasco, the group offers two things she likes to do — being creative and helping out.

“I like it because it’s more a passion with me that we can help others and then do something we all like at the same time,” Carrasco said.

Conn said she helping others makes her feel good inside. And like her peers, Conn said it has given her a chance to meet new people.

“I think it’s cool because we get to help pets be warm during the winter,” Conn said.

Codi Smith, parent of third-grader Chey Smith, thinks it’s wonderful that the students are learning to make a difference in the community.

“Life’s just hard and they need to learn kindness,” Smith said. “I’m hoping the kids will learn to give back.”

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Information from: Odessa American, http://www.oaoa.com

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