IMAGINE Magazine Autumn 2015 Volume 1 Number 1 - Page 15

fit perfectly into the school community. We have gotten such great participation and feedback from our club members and the school as a whole. Everyone seems to enjoy the simple yet thoughtful activities ARK members promote around campus. We have also gotten a lot of support from faculty members as well. What impact does it have on curbing bullying? Our school does not have a big bullying problem, but we definitely see that competitiveness and stress take a toll on students. ARK is a way for students to take a break from the demands and pressures they are under. Not only are the students benefitting from this, but they also are able to promote kindness around campus. So although I would not say that our club is curbing a bullying issue, it is definitely spreading much needed positivity and joy throughout Mitty. Have you noticed a difference in how students treat each other? The funny thing about kindness is that it is often overlooked, because the stress of high school tends to send students into thoughts of negativity. People do not realize that holding open doors for others, or giving a dollar to the kid in the lunch line who needs it makes a big difference in the lives of others. Part of our mission statement is to show that these small actions are in fact things that do make a difference. Of course, making people realize this does not happen overnight, so ARK activities start out as a small ripple. Students make an effort on a daily basis to do one small random act of kindness. This can be a compliment, a favor, or a surprise treat. Overall, we have recognized that kindness is free and extremely rewarding so students try to spread it as much as possible.  What are some of the activities you have done to promote kindness?  We challenged students to write notes of appreciation to each other, to teachers, and to faculty members. Notes were left on a display poster in a main hallway. At first there were only a few notes. As the week progressed, the poster became so full of appreciation that it fell over due to the overwhelming amount of kindness shared. Throughout that week of appreciation, we believe that this powerfully demonstrated how a few seconds out of your day changes the mood for another. Peace group activities can help counter bullying P eace groups can get started with a number of positive activities to help both kids and adults experience greater compassion and a deeper empathy for their peers. Here are a few ideas to get started. 4 Have regular meetings that give kids an open forum to discuss their feelings on bullying and abuse. 4 Write an anti-bullying skit or play and perform it for the school or local community 4 Design posters and other creative projects that promote peace, compassion and appreciation for one another. 4 Take part in fundraisers to raise money for anti-bullying organizations. 4 Develop a set plan of action so that kids know what to do if they witness bullying. 4 Book a professional counselor to speak about bullying and the damage it can do if ignored. 4 Create summer camps, after-school meet ups, and other activities that can give kids in a positive experience and place to be. 4 Encourage kids to express positivity instead of negativity. One school put up large pieces of blank paper and had teens write down positive comments about their peers. 4 Design posters and other creative projects that promote peace, compassion and appreciation for one another. IMAGINE l Autumn 2015 15