Imagine what it’s like to be a student in a big high school with no one to talk to. It can be lonely and discouraging. Thankfully, I work with a wonderful group of students who care and want to make a difference not only for those students but everyone around them.
We started a Choose To Be Nice Club last year at La Sierra High School in Riverside, California (which happens to be my alma mater.) A dedicated group of students comes together for lunch every Monday to come up with ways to reach out to those in need and to create a culture of kindness here.
Most of these students are not in my classes. This is important because it means these are students who believe in the message want to see the club succeed. They will ultimately be the ones who decide the vision of our club going forward.
Making Everyone Feel Welcome
The club’s first activity was to create messages with a “Choose To Be Nice” focus intended to brighten the day of ANY student or staff member who read them because the message pertained to them and would be internalized. We talked specifically about how a sign could help those lonely students who might not have talked with anyone all day. The signs said things like “I’m so glad you’re here today,” or “You’re perfect, just the way you are.” Each club member created 10 signs that we copied onto bright paper so they would stand out. Then, members of the club who were TAs in the classes in the morning put more than 200 signs up all over campus. We’ve heard only positive feedback and many signs are still there.
Passing Around Smiles
For our last activity of the year, we did a “Take A Smile, Leave A Smile” board at lunch. Again, we wrote positive messages, but this time on colored index cards. They were taped to a banner with the title of our activity, and La Sierra students could come up and choose the message they wanted to take. They also created a message for someone else to take. Club members sported our Choose To Be Nice gear and worked on recruiting new members for this year.
We can’t wait to see where we can take our club this year, and we will be happy to share our journey with anyone who’s interested. We thank Dina for her continued cooperation and enthusiasm, and her continued support!
This guest post was written by Shari Micheli of La Sierra High School. Choose To Be Nice welcomes stories and insights from all of our supporters. If you have something to share, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org