Key Club hosts annual GBSRAK to spread positivity

Anne Ribordy

This year, Key Club’s Random Acts of Kindness (GBSRAK) campaign, which took place from Dec. 11 to Dec. 22, added new projects to appeal to a variety of different audiences, Katheryn Woo, Key Club co-administrative committee leader says.

According to Caylie Jeruchimowitz, Key Club member, GBSRAK is a campaign to promote awareness to be kind to others through spontaneous random acts of kindness. Because of GBSRAK’s success last year, Key Club added the campaign by creating new events to make the campaign even stronger and reach more students, according to Woo.  

Some events new to RAK this year were the distribution of hot chocolate on Dec. 19 outside of the cafeteria, a Dec. 20 breakfast for the daytime maintenance staff and the Toilet Talk project which consisted of RAK- related pamphlets in plastic inserts in the bathrooms to create awareness for the campaign, Woo says.  

Last year GBS Chorus members went around the school and sang uplifting songs to teachers for RAK week. Because of last year’s teacher serenading success, the group Chambers sang this year, according to Woo.

“The group Solace, [GBS] singers, went around the school [last year] and serenaded some of our teachers,” Woo said. “It was so sweet, some of the teachers started crying.”

According to Woo, some lights in the hallway were covered with pastel tablecloths for RAK’s new rainbow theme. An event called plarning also started during RAK week. Plarning is done with plastic bags that are woven together to create environmentally friendly mats, which can be given to people as a gift, Woo says.  

Josh Koo, assistant principal of student activities, says that GBSRAK started three years ago to bring positive energy to the school. Since then, the campaign has spread across the state of Illinois.

“We sat in a room and said that it would be cool if we did [RAK] at school,” Koo said. “Then in two years it became a state resolution. Illinois senators and representatives down in Springfield voted and approved [Illinois bill 1199 stating] that [Dec. 11-17] is the official RAK week in all of Illinois.”

What sets GBSRAK apart from other Key Club events is accessibility, Jeruchimowitz says. Because RAK is open to everyone, it makes it easier to participate compared to other Key Club events that have limited spots. Although RAK can take place anywhere around the school, students miss opportunities to do RAK by being invested in electronics, according to Jessica Pritzker, Key Club head sponsor.

“It’s as simple as opening your eyes, taking your eyes off of your phone as you walk in the hall and seeing who around you could benefit from your existence,” Pritzker said.

According to Jerry Fogarty, Key Club faculty advisor, the purpose of GBSRAK is more than just being kind to others, but to make a long lasting impact.

“The goal of GBSRAK is empathy and compassion, and it’s to make service and doing things for other people authentic,” Fogarty said.

According to Jeruchimowitz, people should carry the attitude of the campaign in everything they do after RAK week is over because of the positive environment it brings to South.

“I try to do random acts of kindness if [the opportunity] comes up, not because of RAK week,” Jeruchimowitz said. “[Random acts of kindness] should be a year round thing.”