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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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‘Tis the season for Key Club’s new kindness campaign

‘Tis the season for Key Club’s new kindness campaign

Key Club is spearheading its first GBS Random Acts of Kindness Campaign, an initiative designed to encourage acts of goodwill throughout the building, running Dec. 8-19.

The campaign’s primary focus lies in the idea of “paying it forward,” engaging in kindhearted acts and using that generosity to spread the spirit of

compassion throughout the community. The event’s initial planning began during the summer prior to the 2014-15 school year in efforts to improve the

socio-behavioral climate present at South, according to Social Worker David Hartman. Remedying the social issues turned into a monthly mini-campaign

taken on by different clubs, and Key Club proved a natural fit to take on the challenge.

“It seems to fit really well and they totally have run with it and are doing it,” Hartman said. “It’s clearly the most planned event we have so far.”

The generosity spurred by the holiday season inspired Josh Koo, Key Club sponsor, to spread the kindness.He often challenges Key Club members to start a school-wide movement.

“[The holidays are] the time where people are most generous,” Koo said. “Why don’t we use that notion and take it to the next level? Maybe promote

a random act of kindness where we are being overly generous. Why don’t we take this and open [it] up to the entire school?”

The actions the campaign encourages by no means have to be large–they can be simple actions, like sitting with someone who is alone at lunch or complimenting someone on their outfit. Koo hopes this will make a more inclusive atmosphere at South, combatting the issues the campaign was designed to fix.

“If you have the variety of some kids doing big things [and] a lot of kids doing little things here and there, you’re going to reach more people,” Koo said. “Reaching more people will help that whole concern we have at South, in terms of kids who are being neglected or ignored in terms of the socio-behavioral aspect.”

The campaign’s advertisement has been schoolwide, with signs filled with reminders to be kind, or ideas for spontaneous acts written in sidewalk chalk outside GBS. One aspect of broadcasting the campaign’s underlying message to more students and generating publicity lies in social media, in the hashtag #gbsrak. This is especially important, considering that this is the first time GBS has tackled a random acts of kindness campaign, according to Lori Steffel, Key Club board member.

“What I think it’s going to be used for is to educate [students], because this is the first time around, and definitely to encourage them to use it as well,” Steffel said. “I really hope people get excited enough to use social media as well and spread it to their friends to really report random acts of kindness they see or witness.”

The hashtag, used on social media websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, will result in a culminating highlight reel of posts from those who witnessed or received random acts of kindness, produced in association with the  GBS TV Department, according to Koo. Koo emphasized the fact that posts were to be shared not as a form of self-promotion, but rather a display of the community shared at South.

“How cool would that be, that I received something that was really great but now I see a community of Titans who all felt an impact from somebody,” Koo said. “Not because of what I meant to them, but the fact they were in a situation where they needed someone and somebody thought they could help.”

Despite the campaign being promoted through social media, Steffel thinks it’s important to remember the intentions of the initiative. Even the smallest act of kindness can lead to a broader impact throughout the school.

“It’s not really about how many pictures or posts on Instagram or how many tweets there are, it’s more about whether or not we see a change in GBS and whether or not our students seem happier and more kind to each other,” Steffel said.

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