It looks like the people who are going to be running our country in a few years are already a step ahead of the people running it now.
The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.
Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.
Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:
Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug
Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."
Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.
Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.
Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates
According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.
Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."
She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.
Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.
To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.
Image courtesy of Julie Tarman
Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.
The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.
Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.
To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.
Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.
Two of Patti Schmidt's three sons were already well into adulthood when her daughter Avery was born, and the third wasn't far behind them. Avery, now 5, has never had the pleasure of close-in-age sibling squabbles or gigglefests, since Larry, Patrick, and Gavin are 28, 26, and 22, respectively—but that doesn't mean they don't bond as a family.
According to People.com, Patti calls her sons home to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, every fall for a special Halloween photoshoot with Avery. And the results are nothing short of epic.
The Schmidt family started the tradition in 2017 with the boys dressing as the tinman, the scarecrow, and the cowardly lion from "The Wizard of Oz." Avery, just a toddler at the time, was dressed as Dorothy, complete with adorable little ruby slippers.
The following year, the boys were Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Avery was (of course) Princess Leia.
In 2019, they did a "Game of Thrones" theme. ("My husband and I were binge-watching (Game of Thrones), and I thought the boys as dragons would be so funny," Schmidt told TODAY.)
In 2020, they went as Princess Buttercup, Westley, Inigo Montoya, and Fezzik from "The Princess Bride."
Patti shared a video montage of each year's costume shoot—with accompanying soundtracks—on Instagram and TikTok. Watch:
"They laugh a lot during the shoots," Patti told People. "The boys are good sports. They adore Avery."
That much is clear. How lucky is this little girl?
Middle son Patrick, who is a professional surfer, told People "It's fun, and Avery has a blast."
Patti is the one who comes up with the theme, which she surprises the kids with. This year's theme remains a mystery, though she asked followers for ideas. People offered some fun possibilities including:
- Goldilocks and the three bears
- "Alice in Wonderland," with the boys going as the white rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the doormouse
- "Brave," with Avery going as Merida and the boys as her little brothers
- "Sleeping Beauty" with the boys going as the fairy godmothers
- Frankenstein's Bride, Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman
- "Friends" with Avery going as Phoebe and the boys as Ross, Chandler, and Joey
- "Guardians of the Galaxy"
- "Harry Potter"
Patti offered one vague clue for what this Halloween holds when she told TODAY, "There may or may not be a good-natured groan or two when I pull out the next theme." Hoo boy, can't wait to see what it is.
And yes, in case you were wondering, the brother dressed as Westley did yell "As you wish!" as he rolled down the hill.
Reply to @hmccrow Here it is with audio 😄 #bigbrothers #babysister #theprincessbride #halloween #halloweencostume
And no, the boys and Avery don't just get together for Halloween. The boys and Avery do all kinds of things together, which Patti shares on her TikTok page.
"They are close despite not only age differences but physical distance," Schmidt told TODAY. "Our two oldest sons live in different states, but they're within driving distance, and I try to get everyone together as much as possible."
Here they are teaching Avery how to skateboard:
Families that skate together… #goskateboarding #bigbrothers #familytime
Avery is a seriously lucky little girl.
When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.
Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.
"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."
Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."
That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."