Peet Service Learners plea to city hall, school board for spreading kindness

Several students from the Service Learning Group at Peet Junior High traveled to City Hall on Nov. 21 to challenge City Council to spread kindness. The group also challenged the Cedar Falls School Board and everyone in the Cedar Valley.

Both visits were part of expanding the Peet service learning project throughout the city. About a dozen students formed the main group.

“They picked from the get-go a problem, a community that they wanted to influence, and project -based learning in order to impact people and how to impact people,” said Hilary Iehl, an instructional coach in technology at Peet and adviser to the project. “The goal that they came up with was to spread kindness across the Cedar Valley, and then we decided that not only Peet kids [could be] doing it, why not challenge Cedar Valley schools, the school board and city council,” she said.

The group of students started by doing small acts of kindness for the public. “They put notes in Peet library books and were looking to do some more notes in the public library books. They went around and put positive and encouraging notes on every student’s locker, and also wrote cards to the residents at NewAldaya in the skilled living housing,” Iehl said.

The acts of kindness helped some students realize how easy it is to change someone’s day.

“It was a lot simpler than I thought it would be. It doesn’t take long to do something kind for someone else,” project member Piper Victoria said.

The project also created an informative YouTube video, “Random Acts Of Kindness Challenge,” and  two hashtags, #SpreadKindness and #PeetPride in order to spread awareness.

“The video, as well as the people part of this project made it so clear how kindness isn’t a big act that is draining from yourself. It’s small things that impact someone else and you positively,” project member Sarimah Ogbondah said.

Iehl stressed that everyone can afford to do an act of kindness.  “Small acts of kindness can go a long way. They don’t have to cost money or take a lot of time.  It could be a smile in the hallway, holding the door for someone or inviting someone to sit by you at lunch,” Iehl said.

The current state of American politics inspired the students to try to bring a positive change. “The state of the world we are living in right now — I think we had a lot of disagreement and anger. Pre-election and post-election, that’s really when we were developing this,” she said.

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