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Kind Gratitude Ideas

Thoughts turn to other's just a little more this time of year. Days grow shorter and memories grow longer. Families and friends gather in celebration or hope. Giving is a reflection of our love and caring for each other and those less fortunate. May your thoughts turn to gratitude this holiday season and carry on throughout the next year…” ― James A. Murphy

The smallest things can make all difference in your life and others. You just need to remember to take the time to show your gratitude and spread your kindness. The world needs it. Gratitude ought to be practiced all year.
There is always something to be grateful for.

No matter what your circumstances, as dark as they can seem at times, there is always something worth appreciating. Often the most important times to be grateful are during the most difficult times. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. When you are truly grateful in the moment, it’s impossible to feel fear or stress or anxiety, or any of those negative emotions that keep us for experiencing our potential. Allow gratitude to take over.Flood yourself with gratitude today (and everyday).

  • What have you created for yourself and others?
  • What unique dent are you putting in the world?
  • What are you truly grateful for?

These can be as big as selling your business or as small as seeing a smile or waking up above ground.

The simpler things you can find gratitude in, the more often you’ll find yourself inundated in it.

What could you do for others to help them experience this? What simple things will bring a smile to those around you? Dedicated a small (or big) portion of your day and you’ll begin to experience life on a whole new level.

Every purpose involves helping others.

We are not complete on our own. What makes life rich is the way we interact and serve others. The more you do it, the richer the results.

Go out and touch some people in a way only you can.

Start with the simplest (and most powerful) show of gratitude there is: Spend time with the people you love and those who love you. Simple as that. Be there with them and be purely present. There is no sign of love, thanks and kindness more genuine.

Gratitude Kindness Ideas

Gratitude Resources for Teachers
Implementing Gratitude Using Social Media and the Internet
Article: Show Gratitude Increase Followers
Gratitude Ideas at Home
Gratitude Ideas Just for Teens
Gratitude Ideas for Yourself
Gratitude Ideas for Traveling
Gratitude Ideas from your Time and Heart
Gratitude Ideas for Animals/Dogs
Gratitude Ideas for the Elderly
Gratitude Ideas Under $5.00
Gratitude Ideas for Parents and Grandparents
Gratitude Ideas for Groups and Churches
Gratitude Ideas that are Handmade
Gratitude Ideas for The Environment
Gratitude Ideas for Schools and University
Create a Gratitude Club or Kindness Club for Your School or Church
Create a Church Group: Bullying and the Bible: How to help Bully Victims

 

Social Media and Online

Gratitude Using Social Media and Online Resources

Click Here Join Our 21 Day Social Media Gratitude Challenge

Send someone an e-card

Donate online to a causes

Say thanks to community groups

Use social media to spread good news

Gift a personally inscribed book

Volunteer for an online organization

Email a thank you to a non-profit

Email an inspiring author

Email an inspiring journalist

Create a kindness story e-book

Start the day with inspiring news

Create a kindness blog

Create a gratitude journal online

Join a positive online portal

Reconnect online with

Resources for Teachers

“Every day, tell at least one person something you like, admire, or appreciate about them.” ― Richard Carlson

Gratitude Makes a House a Home

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ― Meister Eckhart

Leave inspiring notes around

Donate extra clothes

Share your flowers

Mail thank-you notes with family

Give your sibling a surprise gift

Say 'I Love You' to your parents

Donate blankets in winter

Do a gratitude reflection

Bake cookies and share

Help a neighbor in need

Serve with your children

Create a family scapbook

Pick up trash

Make breakfast for your partner

Call your mother

Cook a meal for your neighbor

Organize a phone reunion for family

Just For Teens

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ― Marcel Proust

 

Lend an ear to a friend

 

Thank the janitor at your school

 

Write a thank-you note to your favorite teacher.

 

Leave a nice note on a random locker

 

Anonymously give a gift to your sibling

 

Send a love note to your parents

 

Eat lunch with someone new at school

 

Get friends to hold up smile posters

 

Share a momemt that made you smile

 

Serve a meal at a soup kitchen

 

Bake cookies and share them

 

Offer advice to a younger student

 

Tell your parents they're special

 

Send a letter to a former teacher

 

Mail an anonymous gift to a friend

 

Make someone breakfast in bed

 

Put a flower in a neighbor's paper

 

Slip a nice note in a friend's bag

 

Pick up trash at your school

 

Say 'Good Morning' to 5 people

 

Read a book to a child

 

Make a bookmark for a friend

 

Hold the door open for your class

 

Learn to say hello in a new language

Family and Friends

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” ― Cicero

downloadfamily1

Welcome a friend home with groceries

Gift your favorite book

Leave a love note for your partner

Share an inspiring news story

Give a surprise gift

Write a note or poem about someone

Help with a chore unexpectedly

Make time for a nice dinner out

Reconnect with an old friend

Call a mentor to say thank you

Lend a hand to a family you know

Make someone a home-cooked meal

Lend an ear to someone

Offer to baby-sit Send a postcard to a distant family

Bake cookies for a neighbor

Help a neighbor in need Leave flowers for a neighbor

Welcome new neighbors Call mom or dad just to say hi

Post inspiring quotes in your home

Put a flower in a neighbor’s paper

Give a gift card to someone in need

 

For Animals

“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” ― Thornton Wilder

Donate items to an animal shelter

Hang up a bird-feeder

Offer to walk a friend's pet

Offer to wash a neighbor's dog

Make a birdbath

Pet-sit for a friend on vacation

Make extra time to play with a pet

Observe animals in your neighborhood

Teach children about animals

Donate to an animal-related cause

Adopt a lion, whale, or other animal

Adopt from a pet shelter

Be kind to ants and insects

Go wildlife watching

Make nutritional treats for pets

Volunteer with animals

 

Gratitude Ideas For The Elderly

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.” ― Anthony Robbins

Visit an elderly neighbor

Visit a nursing home

Give your subway seat to an elder

Assist an elder at the store

Read to an elderly person

Prepare a special meal or dessert

Share safety tips

Send an inspiring card

Bring them flowers

Help out with a household task

Offer to drive them

Roll their bins out on trash day

Email a good news story

Help take care of their pets

Under Five Dollars

“Be grateful. Not Hateful.” ― John Passaro

 

Send dessert to another table

 

Leave change in the vending machine

 

Pay toll for the person behind you

 

Give a gift card for a favorite cafe

 

Leave flowers for your neighbor

 

Leave chocolates for the waitperson

 

On a hot day buy someone a drink

 

Buy coffee for the person behind you

 

Give a cupcake on someone's birthday

 

Leave extra time in a parking meter

 

Always carry extra snacks for others

 

Send a nice thank you card

 

Put chocolates on a co-worker's desk

 

Plant a tree in your neighborhood

 

Treat a homeless person to coffee

 

 

Leave a flower/note on someone's car

For Parents and Grandparents

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” ― Neal A. Maxwell

 

Celebrate with pay-it-forward gifts

 

Start a kindness/gratitude journal

 

Volunteer locally with children

 

Gift outdoor toys anonymously

 

Have a child make a neighbor smile

 

Find teachable moments every day

 

Support a non-profit as a family

 

Do something kind for another family

 

Gift balloons with a child

 

As a family, thank helpful people

 

 

Ask kids to gift flowers to 5 elders

 

Put a loving note in a child's lunch

 

Collect money/items for good

 

Remind kids to be kind to each other

 

Share small gifts with the needy

 

Tell a child the story of your hero

 

Invite kids/teens to share smiles

 

Bake treats for a family in need

 

Resources for Groups/Churches

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ― Eckhart Tolle

For The Environment

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” ― Alphonse Karr

 

Research eco-friendly materials

 

Clean up litter on your street

 

Thank an eco-friendly business

 

Clean a park as much as you can

 

Organize a beach clean-up

 

Find stories of local eco-heroes

 

Gift a reusable grocery bag

 

Give out long-life light bulbs

 

Plant a tree where it will thrive

 

Cook a locally grown meal

 

Hug a tree in public

 

Post tips to reduce water use

 

Use clean air forms of transit

 

Turn off unused lights

 

Unplug unused appliances

 

Gift houseplants or seeds

 

Reuse one-sided paper

 

Walk or bike more

 

Support local markets and farmers

 

 

Remove debris from a road or path

At School and University

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” ― John F. Kennedy

Post inspiring quotes around school

Lend an ear to a friend

Say thank you to a favorite teacher

Say thank you to the janitor

Befriend someone new

Befriend someone struggling

Appreciate a faculty member

Leave a nice note for a friend

Help collect trash on campus

Share a healthy meal on campus

Mentor younger student

Greet people on campus

Create inspiring bookmarks

Hold door for the person after you

Frame an inspirational quote

Gift a personally inscribed book

Leave change in vending machine

Make a CD of inspirational songs

Write a card to your parents

Organize a Smile Poster party

 

About Kids for Gratitude

Spreading Awareness and Increasing Engagement Surrounded by Actions of Gratitude

 

About The Foundation

Kids For Gratitude, Inc is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides assistance to children with Diseases/Rare Diseases and their families. Some of the ways we help are: Expansion of Children's Education, Providing Supplies and Needs not covered by medical insurance, referral for streamline and professional counseling.

  • Educating the Chronically Ill Child - Many children who have medical and rare diseases are not able to attend school and their schoolwork suffers. Others, unfortunately, are frequently sick, miss lots of school, and may find themselves falling far behind in their classes. Medical bills can be a tremendous hardship on a family financially where they cannot afford to hire a tutor so their child keeps up with their schoolwork. Kids For Gratitude serves these children and their families in this area.
  • Providing Medical Supplies or Equipment - Some medical supplies are not covered under insurance or are considered cosmetic. This is an area where Kids For Gratitude serves to help these families providing these neccesities. This way these families can focus on what matters, their child.
  • Professional Counseling - When a child is sick, this can be very mentally challenging on the child and family. These families need and want counseling but cannot afford it with all their medical bills. Kids for Gratitude serves these children and families in this area.

Founded by Bardi Toto Drake, Kidsforgratitude.com is also a resource for people committed to spreading kindness and gratitude. We provide a variety of materials on our website, including ideas for actions surrounding gratitude and kindness, ideas for educators and schools, activities and lesson plans and inspirational quotes.

In the summer of 2013 an idea unleashed the tidal wave of gratitude and Kindness now known as Kidsforgratitude.org.  What if instead of focusing on the negativity in the world, what we lack, which is a mindset of scarcity and focus on what we have. Lets create a ripple effect focusing on what we have accomplished, teaching and showing others young and old gratitude through various mechanisms including Social Media. Spreading Gratitude throughout the world rather than promoting greed, lack and a competitive spirit.

Everything here is a labor of Kindness, love and gratitude. This is 100% run by volunteers and donations. Our wonderful team is comprised of dedicated individuals located Nationwide. We send out a weekly Gratitude newsletter without any hidden agenda. Generosity is generative  the good circles back to support us in various ways. Some people share creative ideas of compassion, some contribute stories of inspiration, some sponsor cards for others -- and in all these and many other ways the gratitude just keeps spreading! We're just grateful for the opportunity to be humble instruments toward the world.

Help Groom Our Children for Success

Help Groom our next Generation for Success implementing Gratitude

Besides Providing assistance to children  with Diseases/Rare Diseases the second Part of The Kids for Gratitude Foundation is the heart of the gratitude movement whose aim is to help everyone create a better world by spreading awareness and increasing engagement surrounding by actions of gratitude.

Our platform is where media, education, community, social networking and entertainment connect people with inspiration, tools, resources, organizations and a larger support network to help them take action, get involved, harvest and share the benefits of gratitude in their daily lives and society. We are dedicated to provide users with dynamic means to teach, learn, collaborate, grow and communicate the kindness they care about in their unique ways.

Our Vision for Students

Our vision is for schools to help cultivate kids who are compassionate students of heart and character through the simple focus and daily practice of gratitude/kindness vs. bullying and a competitive spirit. Won’t you join us?

Please let us know what you are doing to foster kindness in your school or community.

Gratitude Resources

Gratitude Resources to Change Your Life and Impact Those Around You With Gratitude

What Is Gratitude?

 

Gratitude is one of many positive emotions. It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have.Gratitude is pausing to notice and appreciate the things that we often take for granted, like having a place to live, food, clean water, friends, family, even computer access. It's taking a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are when something good happens — whether it's a small thing or a big thing.

We can use lots of words to describe feelings of gratitude: We might say we feel thankful, lucky, fortunate, humbled, or blessed.

 

Why Gratitude Matters

 

Gratitude doesn't just feel good. Making a habit of gratitude can also be good for us. Like other positive emotions, feeling grateful on a regular basis can have a big effect on our lives. Brain research shows that positive emotions are good for our bodies, minds, and brains.

 

  • Positive emotions open us up to see more possibilities and take in more information. They boost our ability to develop skills, learn, and make good decisions.
  • Positive emotions balance out negative emotions. People who often feel grateful and appreciative are happier, less stressed, and less depressed. Gratitude is like a U-turn on complaining or thinking about what we don't have.
  • One positive emotion often leads to another. When we feel grateful, we might also feel happy, calm, joyful, or glad.
  • Gratitude can lead to positive actions. When we feel grateful for someone's kindness toward us, we may be more likely to do a kindness in return. Your gratitude also can have a positive effect on someone Else's actions. Thanking people can make it more likely they'll do a kindness again.
  • Gratitude helps us build better relationships. When we feel and express heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to people in our lives, it creates loving bonds, builds trust, and helps you feel closer.

 

When we make it a habit to feel grateful and appreciative, it increases our awareness of good things as they happen. That mindset of gratitude has positive effects on our mood.

 

Build a Gratitude Habit Online and Offline

 

Sometimes, feelings of gratitude happen spontaneously. But we also can create feelings of gratitude by deliberately counting our blessings.

 

You can build a habit of counting blessings just by paying attention each day to things you're glad to have in your life. Slow down and notice what's around you. For example: "Wow, the sky is beautiful today! What an incredible world we live in," or, "There's Sara! It was so nice of her to help me yesterday."

 

Noticing the things you're grateful for is just the first step in building a gratitude habit, but you can try other things too, like taking the time to thank people or pausing to appreciate a star-filled sky. Start now. What's good about this moment?

What is Bullying?

Aggressive behavior may be bullying depending on what happened, how often it happens and who it happens to. Find out what bullying is and what the different types are. You can also learn more about other topics related to bullyin

Gratitude_University_00A boy is bullied

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

Roles Kids Play in Bullying
Related Topics
Facts About Bullying

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

  • Types of Bullying
  • Where and When Bullying Happens
  • Frequency of Bullying

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Where and When Bullying Happens

Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

Frequency of Bullying

There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:

  • The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
  • The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that, nationwide, 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.

What is Cyber Bullying ?

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

Prevent Cyberbullying
Report Cyberbullying
Be Aware of What Your Child is doing Online
Cyberbullying FAQ for Teens

Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

Why Cyberbullying is Different

Kids who are being cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well. Additionally, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior.

  • Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach a kid even when he or she is alone. It can happen any time of the day or night.
  • Cyberbullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source.
  • Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.

Effects of Cyberbullying

Teens texting

Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyberbullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt other people. Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar.

Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:

  • Use alcohol and drugs
  • Skip school
  • Experience in-person bullying
  • Be unwilling to attend school
  • Receive poor grades
  • Have lower self-esteem
  • Have more health problems

The Bible: How to Help Bully Victims

 

Bullying and the Bible: How to Help Bully Victims

As any parent will tell you, bullying is a big problem for today’s kids.  “Virtual Roundtables” on the subject of Bullying & the Bible.

Our goal is simple: We want to equip children to confront the modern challenges of Bullying by turning to the Bible for wisdom, strength, and hope.

Throughout history, two things have not changed:  (a) God’s word, and (b) human nature.  God’s word speaks loudly and clearly on the subject of bullying, and the stories are relevant to cyber bullying, school yard bullying, and neighborhood bullying.

bullying bible lesson

 

Each of the 6 experts prepared their answer independently, and we have simply compiled their wonderful & diverse ideas below.

We hope you enjoy the discussion:-)   We’d love to invite you to join the conversation, if you’d like to contribute a reply, thought, or idea,- don’t hesitate to leave us a note in the “Comments” below this post.

 

Virtual Roundtable: Bullying and the Bible

 

Marty Machowski
Pastor at Covenant Fellowship in Glen Mills, PA

While we don’t have any record of Jesus being bullied or mistreated as a boy, Jesus did speak to how we are to relate to those who are unkind and mean to us which applies to bullying.

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

When someone mistreats us, the natural instinct is to feel anger, even hatred toward that person.  But Jesus here points us to a much different response.  You see, while we were enemies of God, He loved us by sending his only Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be forgiven.  It is this same kind of undeserving love that Jesus tells us to extend to our enemies.

Every time a child is bullied, they need help in processing how to deal with the hurt, fear, and anger which result.  When we take them to the gospel, we give them the opportunity to process what happened redemptively.  What better way forward than to help our children understand that the world is filled with lost souls who need our prayers. What better hope for moving on from a bullying incident than pointing them to the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins and then inviting them to extend the same forgiveness to those who oppress us.

 

Carol Koch
Founder/Senior Pastor at Christ Triumphant Church

I lead a Kid’s intercessory prayer group (ages 5 yrs. to 6th grade) on Tuesday evenings at our church. I equip the kids in all the areas of prayer, (praying the bible, pray for healing, praying for the nations, etc…) as part of the time I always include a time that I call listening praying (soaking prayer), their time for God to speak to their heart personally.

After we’ve had the quiet time I always ask if God spoke to them, if there’s something that’s bothering them, they want us to prayer and minister to them about bullying. I have been amazed especially the last 5 to 6 years the kids that  will want prayer for some one at school, on the bus, playing in their neighbor, who has either been cruel to them, picked on them,  and in some form bullied them. Most of the time they have told no-one not even their Moms. The prayer environment creates an atmosphere where the child feels safe to share to share what happened. I listen, then will usually ask them how that made them feel, it’s important to validation their feelings, not dismiss it with remarks like “well kids will be kids”.

I might respond with “I’m so sorry that happened to you, I can see why that bothered you. We (the kids and myself) will pray for them,(it also opens up discussion that others will share similar situations). If fear is involved, I share the scripture that “Gods not given them a spirit of fear, but love, power and a sound mind,” then mentor them to use the scripture when they feel those feelings of fear, to say the verse till they feel better.

I encourage them to tell their Moms, the person in charge, or an adult they trust. I will usually share with a parent what happened, and suggest for them to create a time to talk to the child about what’s going on in their life without  the child feeling I betrayed their confidence. In the day we live we are all so busy that many times we get so distracted by life we miss things that might be going on in our children. Make time to develop a prayer life with your children and let them learn to express their hearts..

 

Bernadette O’Shea
10 years experience in Christian Education and Ministry

A child who endures the pain of bullying is a hero. It takes courage to face each day knowing you will be taunted, teased, and picked on.  If a child comes to you with the problem of bulling, there are several things you can do to help.

Commend the child for coming forward. Praise them for their strength to take a stand. Speak words of life into these children. They have been bruised and are likely to have low self esteem.  Be sure they understand they are safe sharing with you. Many children who are being bullied do not have a safe person to talk. They may think they cannot talk about it without repercussions.

Children need to be taught how to be courageous and stand up for themselves. Teaching a child to have a healthy self image of themselves creates a confident kid.  They do not deserve to be treated anything less than the treasure they are.

In second Kings Chapter nine we read the story of Jehu and Jezebel. Jezebel was a manipulating and conniving bully who used her power to push people around. It took the courage of Jehu to stand against Jezebel and have her destroyed. Courage was Jehu’s strength. First Samuel seventeen tells the story of David and Goliath. A young man with no training stood up to a powerful warrior who was a tormentor. David did not allow man’s preserved weakness of him to stop him from boldly confronting and eliminating the bully Goliath. David’s strength was in boldness.

A child who has suffered from bullying may have developed ungodly beliefs about himself. It is important to teach children how to counteract what was said and done to them. Encourage them to share or write out what was spoken and done to them. Then, go through the Scriptures and find out what God says about this. If they are told they are ugly, God’s word states in Psalms 47:11a “The King is enthralled by your beauty”. If they have been told they are better off dead, how is that possible?  Each person’s life has value.  We were created with a purpose (Jeremiah 1:5). When we fulfill that purpose we walk into our destiny and touch the lives of those around us. As a child realizes their value and importance, they can stand up to whatever may come their way.

 

Amber Smith
Children’s Ministry Consultant and Creative Director

Scripture: Matthew 27:27-30 (NIrV)
The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus

 

The governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the palace, which was called the Praetorium. All the rest of the soldiers gathered around him. They took off his clothes and put a purple robe on him. Then they twisted thorns together to make a crown. They placed it on his head. They put a stick in his right hand. Then they fell on their knees in front of him and made fun of him. “We honor you, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him. They hit him on the head with the stick again and again.

Jesus knows first hand what it is to be bullied. After Jesus had been arrested, the solider hurt him by beating Him and making fun of Him. It can be hard to talk about the abuse you take from a bully because you may feel like no one can understand what you’re going through. You can always speak to Jesus, however, even if you feel like you can’t talk to anyone else because He knows exactly what it is like to both be hurt physically and emotionally.

What you should keep in mind, however, is that later on in this same Bible story, Jesus forgives those who have hurt Him, saying to His Father in heaven, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:32, NIrV). There is power in forgiveness. As hard as it might be, you should follow Jesus’ example and forgive the bullies who hurt you as well.

 

Kenny Conley
NextGen Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX
Learn more from Kenny at his Blog- Childrens Ministry Online

Initially, when talking about the issue of bullying, my thoughts went to the stories of David and King Saul. King Saul had some pretty significant insecurity issues and felt amazingly intimidated by David. For no reason, (except for being jealous), King Saul sought out to bring harm to David.

Sometimes people who are dealing with insecurity or other issues are going to treat us improperly, just like King Saul did with David. David had a very high level of respect for Saul. He knew that Saul was loved by God and had been anointed by God, so he didn’t  seek to harm Kind Saul. We should take a lesson here.

Even when a bully treats us with disrespect, it is important to remember that God made that bully and cares for him or her as well. We can take whatever action our parents or teachers suggest, but it’s important to remember that God love him/her and we should treat him/her the way that God does them.

 

Brittany Sky Stanley
Editor – Children’s Resources United Methodist Publishing House

Being bullied is a hard thing to deal with. It’s hard to talk about, hard to understand, and hard to move past. I don’t know a soul who truly knows a fool proof method on bullying, but there is one truth I do know. God created each and every being on this earth and saw that they were good. You are good. You are not insignificant, or any of the other hateful things that are being said, or done. You are good.

 

Psalm 139 says you were knit in your mother’s womb. God took great care in making you just the way you are, and saw that everything about you was good. When things seem dark, and lonely, remember that you are good. You are a beautiful creation. You have a special place here in the web of life. You are good.

We’d like to sincerely thank everyone below for continuing to share their knowledge and for giving their time to this Roundtable Discussion.  Please feel free to comment, tweet, Pin and “Like” this post to help spread the word.

Educators/Parents/Churches

Gratitude_University_00Welcome Educators, Parents and Churches

For any educational context, from preschool and elementary through the teen years, in schools large and small as well as home-school, we provide resources to supplement, complement, and support positive behavior goals. You'll find excellent resources like our free lesson plans, kindness project ideas, downloadable calendars and graphics, and more.

Preschool Gratitude Project Ideas

Elementary School Gratitude Project Ideas

Middle School Gratitude Project Ideas

Highschool Gratitude Project Ideas

Arts and Crafts - Additional Classroom Materials

Random Acts of Gratitude Clubs

Start a Kindness/Gratitude Club

Gratitude Ideas

Bullying

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Preschool Kindness Project Ideas Gratitude and Kindness go Hand in Hand

Showing our gratitude is important throughout the entire year. It takes on new meaning and we get extra creative showing our thanks. The New Year is a good time to stop and remember the great things in our lives.

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Tree and Board Ideas:

Gratitude Tree: craft makes a great centerpiece all year round and is a daily reminder to your child what to be grateful for. Use real tree branches in a glass container to hang tags filled with the things your thankful for.

Take a cut out of the craft paper in the leaf shape.

  1. Use the craft leaf as a template for tracing the rest of the leaves on a bigger sheet.
  2. Punch holes in the leaves tie a piece of string in the holes.
  3. Add rocks to the base of the vase and stick the tree branch there so that it stands erect.
  4. Ask your kids to draw or write about things that they are thankful for. If they are too young, you can write for them.
  5. Tie the leaves on the “tree branches”.

Gratitude Board: have your child cut pictures out about what he or she is grateful for. Their pets, their shoes, their house, their teacher, the school crossing guard who keeps them safe, water to keep them clean, their parents, their clothes, their jacket which keeps them warm, photos from family vacations

Friendship Tree: Draw a tree on your board. Have a paper or magnet heart prepared with each child’s name. Have the children close their eyes and choose a heart with another child’s name. They identify the name and think of something nice they could do for that child. Then they hang the heart on an empty branch on the tree.

Lighthouse: Create a lighthouse with good character traits angled out as light beams (e.g. kindness, respect, honesty, responsibility). Discuss how we can best shine our light and talk about these different traits.

Virtue Tree: Create a big tree on your board (or on a bulletin board if you wish it to stay visible for a longer period of time), and attach a different virtue (in the shape of a leaf with the virtue written on it, e.g., courtesy, kindness, helpfulness, gentleness) each week. Discuss the virtue at group time, and have children give examples of how to express the virtue.

Story Time/Group Time:

Storytelling: Create a very short story and have children respond. For example: Johnny is riding his bike. He falls off, hurts his knee, and starts to cry. What could you do to help him?

Friendship: Discuss at group time how you know people are friends (e.g., they smile at each other, help each other, hold hands). Then sing “The More We Get Together” and let the children hold hands in a circle and dance.

Spider Web: Have the children sit in a circle and explain that you’re going to make a spider web. Give the first child the end of the string and the ball. He or she holds the end with one hand and with the other rolls the ball to another child. It continues in the same manner from child to child. Remind them to hang on. At the end, discuss that we are all connected and the importance of being kind to everybody in the class.

Hold Gratitude Story Time once a week, during which children and teachers can share stories of kindness from their daily lives. Children could draw a picture about their gratitude story and share it with the class. After sharing, talk about how gratitude and kindness makes both the giver and the recipient fee1. Also, discuss why gratitude is important to both friendships and families.

Hold a “Gratitude Sharing Day” once a week. Sit in a circle, and have everyone in the class say something nice about one child. The teacher writes all the comments on a “You Are Special” sheet and gives it to the child or posts it on the bulletin board with the child’s photograph.

In a circle, have each child talk about one relative or friend and say why that person is so special. Then discuss what kind act (e.g., give a hug, draw a picture) the child could do to let the person know that he/she is special.

Encourage the children to do one nice thing everyday, like give a hug, lend a crayon, or play with someone new.

Start each day with a story about  gratitude from www.values.com.

Art/Cooking:

Uniqueness: At group time, discuss what makes us unique as individuals. Discuss that we all have similarities and differences and the importance of acceptance. Have each child draw a picture of him/herself and a picture of a classmate (perhaps drawing the names out of a bowl). Then discuss the drawings in relation to similarities/differences between classmates.

Friendship Hands: Create handprints of each child. String them together as if everyone is holding hands, and hang it in the classroom.

Mommy’s Favorite Book (or Daddy, Grandma, friend, etc.): Have each child create a book. The children fill in the blanks (Mommy’s favorite food, song, outfit, things to do, etc.) and then design the artwork. This helps children find out about others’ likes and dislikes and can be tied into caring for one another by respecting their preferences. It also makes a treasured gift!

Friendship Salad: Have each child bring an item to add to your friendship salad (e.g., strawberries, grapes). Design a big smile into the salad and discuss how everyone participated to make it smile.

Stone Soup: Read aloud the story “Stone Soup” and have each child bring in ingredients. Prepare the soup. Discuss how each child’s contribution combines with other contributions and they all work together to make something that wasn’t there before. Celebrate the kindness of sharing.

Outreach:

Adopt a local assisted-living home and do some exchange programs (e.g. talent show, holiday treats, visits).

Hop-a-Thon: Hold a hop-a-thon to raise money for your RAK project or for a local worthwhile cause. Have adults pledge money per hop and donate the earnings. The children hop for one minute, with the teacher timing the minute. Make it a fun event with refreshments!

Toy Giveaway: Young children love growing up. Find a local charity that needs used toys, books, etc. Initiate a toy drive at your school: have the children and their parents decide which toys the children have outgrown and donate them.

Peace Rose: The peace rose is used throughout the year after the initial group lesson about it. The peace rose is used when two children are having a difficult time resolving a conflict. It is placed in the same place for the entire year. When two children are having a conflict, one of them (or a third child mediator) retrieves the peace rose.  They discuss their problem by taking turns talking and expressing their feelings. One child holds the rose and gets to talk without being interrupted by the other child. Then the rose is passed to the other child so he/she can talk uninterrupted. Whoever has the rose gets to talk without being interrupted by another child. After they have resolved their problem or overcome the difficulty, they all put hands on the rose and say “All declare peace.” The flower is then replaced on the shelf.

Peace Table: Set up a special table with two chairs and a flower arrangement. If two children are having difficulty, they may sit at the table and discuss it. They keep their hands in their lap and take turns without interrupting, and resolve their conflict. Then they may shake hands (or hug if they choose) and go back to their work. The lesson for this activity is given at the beginning of the year.

Angel Box: Have the children look for others being kind. When they notice something, they may write it down, draw a picture of it, or have the teacher write it out. Then they put it in the angel box. At the end of the week, the stories and drawings are read and discussed at group.

Start a “sticker campaign” to spread kindness. Staff members and teachers can pick up stickers each Monday as they sign in, then give them to kids they observe doing a Random Act of Kindness, telling them exactly what they did to earn the sticker.

Have your classroom create a kindness quilt for display at the school, in a shopping mall, or at the mayor’s office. Each child draws a kindness picture on a patch and then asks a group of parent volunteers to assemble the quilt. If multiple quilts are made, they can be distributed to children’s hospitals and shelters for the homeless.

Have the students create an alphabetical list of easy Kindness activities together. For instance:

A: I pet a friendly Animal.

B: I Brought my laundry to the washroom.

C: I helped a person Carry something.

……

X: I gave someone in my family an eXtra hug.

Then make up a Gratitude page on bright paper with the A - Z activities listed on it. As the students complete each Gratitude activity, they can tell about it and punch out that letter with a hole punch (with help if needed). When the students punch out their letters completely, they get their names on a bulletin board with perhaps a quote from them about why Gratitude is important or about how their Gratitude activities made them feel.

Talk with the children about being kind to animals. Let them tell stories about how they are kind to their pets. Discuss how to take care of a dog or cat, including food, water, exercise, immunizations, and affection. Encourage them to draw pictures of animals, and post the pictures on a “Be Kind to Animals” bulletin board.

Try a "Pizza Gratitude Kids" event, where each child gets a kindness pizza divided into sections. When they do a random act of gratitude for someone, they get that person's signature on that one section. When all kids in the class have completed their gratitude pizzas, they get a pizza party.

Elementary School Gratitude Projects

Ways to Encourage Gratitude in Students

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So, your students are going to create art inspired by gratitude. What if they aren’t grateful? Or, what if, the student has a hard life or has something difficult they are dealing with right now? There are many reasons that students may struggle with gratitude.

Start by defining gratitude. I like the definition of gratitude and its benefits from Psychology Today:

“Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for  what one has—as opposed to, say, a consumer-oriented emphasis  on what one wants or needs—and is currently receiving a great deal of attention  as a facet of positive psychology. Gratitude is what gets poured into the glass to make it half full. Studies show that gratitude not only can be deliberately cultivated but can increase levels of well-being and happiness among those who  do cultivate it.  In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.”

There are real, tangible benefits to being the kind of person who is grateful. Gratitude is worth cultivating, and that attitude permeates the thought of giving.

To prepare for your art project, there are a couple of tangible suggestions I have for starting right now cultivating the sense of gratitude:

1. Keep a Happy (gratitude) Journal.

 Research studies have shown that keeping a 5 minute a day gratitude journal will increase your long term well being more than winning a million dollars in the lottery.

Talk about this with students, set a timer, and keep a joy journal every day for the next 2 weeks. Ask older students to plot their mood to see if they notice any change in their own outlook on life. When it is time to create your art, review your journal for patterns of things that bring you joy. Those are great targets for gratitude.

Benefits: This activity can have students writing, journaling, and improving their mood at the same time. You can also encourage parents to join in this activity and educate them on this.

Successful organizations show gratitude, so do successful classrooms. Gratitude shouldn't be a secret. Help children share a word of thank you with each other and with those who serve and help them every day.

Successful organizations show gratitude, so do successful classrooms. Gratitude shouldn’t be a secret. Help children share a word of thank you with each other and with those who serve and help them every day.

2. Show gratitude to each other

I’ve read that it takes 7 compliments to counterbalance 1 criticism. In a recent human resources blog, I read that the highest performing teams have a ratio of 5.6 or almost 6 compliments for every negative one. (The lowest have .36 or almost 3 negative comments for every positive one.)

My children all have kept an activity from elementary school where every student gave one genuine compliment for every other student. They typed them up and put a picture of each student in front (with classmates behind) with a title like “why we’re thankful for ___ (Suzie or Johnny or insert name there.) The teacher should add one there as well.

Benefits: This activity helps students show gratitude towards each other and to intentionally say thank you and can have an impact on the whole class, particularly in helping them appreciate the strengths of each child.

3. Show gratitude to others who serve

There are so many people who do so much for kids at the school. Showing gratitude to each person on staff in meaningful ways can make a difference. You can start off by asking students to give another a genuine verbal compliment and discussing the response they received.

Then, you can level up and have students write thank you notes, cards, or have them use their art as a form of recognition and thank you to those who encourage and serve them.  You can also combine this with #youmatter activities.

Benefits: The entire school begins to be reminded to be grateful for one another.

4. Show gratitude to parents and family

Students often take their caregivers for granted. Encourage students to take time to write parents a note or to list all of the things they are grateful for from their parents. Use these thoughts to inspire artwork designed to enhance the thanksgiving experience.

Benefits: strengthen the home/school connection and encourage parents to show gratitude to their children as well.

5. Plan a thank you party

Plan a thank you party for Thanksgiving centered around saying thank you to heroes among us. Include your artwork and a time of thanks to those who do so much to help kids.

Benefits: Make meaning as part of your thanksgiving party.

Plan your art project with a gratitude theme

If you’re looking for art ideas, then peruse, but remember that often kids only need the materials and time and they’ll do the rest to create the art. With a basis of understanding gratitude and the types of things they are grateful for, you’ll need to prepare for your art project. There are two places I recommend for your planning.

Kindergarten through Third Grade

Hold Gratitude Story Time once a week, during which students and teachers can share stories of kindness from their lives. Students could practice writing and drawing skills by preparing their stories before and during class. There could also be an interactive discussion afterwards, including brainstorming about how the class could perform a kindness activity, reflecting about how Gratitude has made a difference and scanning the news for types of Gratitude stories.

Put a large blank banner in the entryway to the school and invite students from all grade levels, teachers, administrators, parents and other community members to write their Gratitude stories on it. Students can then present the finished banner to the principal, display it at a local establishment or post it in the classroom as a reminder of the positive effects that Gratitude has on all people.

Put up "Gratitude Wall" signs at the entrances to your school and classroom to remind people to remember to practice Random Acts of Gratitude.

Hold a "Gratitude is Kind Card Day." Everyone in the class writes something nice about someone else on a card. Distribute the cards and spend time reading what others wrote.

Have the students write a kindness note to all relatives and special friends letting them know why they are so special.

Start a Random Acts of Gratitude Club and commit to doing at least one random act of Gratitude per week. Tell the class of your activities and outcomes.

Have your principal start each day with a reading about Gratitude over the intercom.

Have classrooms create a Gratitude kindness quilt for display at the school, in a shopping mail or at the mayor's office. Each student draws a kindness picture on a patch and then asks a group of parent volunteers to assemble the quilt. If multiple quilts are made, they can be distributed to children's hospitals and homeless shelters.

Have the students create an alphabetical list of easy Kindness activities together. For instance:

A: I pet a friendly Animal.

B: I Brought my laundry to the washroom.

C: I helped a person Carry something.

...X: I gave someone in my family an eXtra hug.

Then make up a Gratitude page on bright paper with the A - Z activities listed on it. As the students complete each Gratitude activity, they can tell about it and punch out that letter with a hole punch (with help if needed). When the students punch out their letters completely, they get their names on a bulletin board with perhaps a quote from them about why Gratitude is important or about how their Gratitude activities made them feel.

Start a "sticker campaign" to spread Gratitude. Staff members and teachers can pick up stickers each Monday as they sign in, then give them to kids they observe doing a Random Act of Kindness, telling them exactly what they did to earn the sticker. The kids can them give their stickers to someone else in the community that they see committing a Random Act of Kindness.

Make individual "check lists" for students during Gratitude Week encouraging each student to complete some or all of the random acts of Gratitude gestures listed. Activities could include: picking up litter, smiling and saying thank you to the bus driver and doing anything else that is kind.

Try a "Pizza Gratitude Kids" event, where each child gets a Gratitude pizza divided into sections. When they do a random act of kindness for someone, they get that person's signature on that one section. When all kids in the class have completed their Gratitude pizzas, they get a pizza party.

Put photos of kind acts in hearts on classroom or hallway walls. After a few months of display, donate the display to local hospitals or shelters.

 

Middle School Project Ideas

Gratitude_University_00Gratitude Activity Ideas Middle School 6th-8th:

Organize the older students to “adopt” younger students for the day. The students can eat lunch together, read to each other or play a game together.

Gather a collection of kindness stories from students, teachers, families and administrators. Publish and distribute the “book” to the school and community. Allow students to keep a few copies to give to people who have made a difference in their lives or offer to people as a Random Act of Gratitude.

Hold a teddy bear drive and collect new and used teddy bears throughout the school and community. Also, ask the student council for funding to buy more bears. Gather all of the teddy bears and donate them to the police or fire station to be distributed to fire victims and/or cancer patients at the local children’s hospital.

Plan a classroom or school recycling effort. Contact a local agency to see if it would be willing to remove your recyclables. Find out how they must be sorted and stored. Collect and recycle everything you can. Contact your local media for publicity of your efforts.

Start a ribbon campaign and give out kindness ribbons to be worn and passed on to another. Your class could sign the back before passing them along. Gather the “completed” ribbons and give them to the local shopping mall, municipal building or city hall to be displayed.

Conduct a Gratitude and Kindness Search. Have the students look online for stories about acts of kindness and summarize the story for the rest of the class. Keep a file of all the stories and make a “kindness book” to be handed down through the years.

Put up a “Gratitude Zone” signs at the entrances to your school and classroom to remind people to remember to practice Random Acts of Kindness.

Talk to the school or town library about forgiving late fines during Gratitude Week. In return, volunteer to help librarians with book organization, cleaning and landscaping.

Create and deliver baskets of Gratitude/Kindness for the elderly or shut-ins. Talk with local merchants and ask for free supplies or ideas. Take a class field trip to deliver the baskets.

Create a special dessert(s) to bring to school and deliver them as a group to seniors, church groups, hospitals and/or nursing home residents. Be sure to include Gratitude stories or Gratitude-themed desserts.

Set up a free coffee and/or hot chocolate station near a heavily commuted area. Pass out hot drinks to the morning drivers. Be sure to have a banner and a smile to promote Random Acts of Gratitude activities, ideas and gestures.

Hold a canned food drive and give the food to your local food bank or shelters for the homeless. Be sure to include some kindness cards or books with the delivery.

Sponsor the planting of a Gratitude Tree. With the help of youth groups, service clubs or other volunteers, plant the tree or flowers in a public area of the school grounds. Display a Gratitude Plaque by the display for others to read about Kindness. This could also be done in a public park or walking trail.

Volunteer to tutor younger students in your school with math, science, spelling, etc.

Set up a Janitor Appreciation Day and have your class clean the school for the janitor(s). Be sure to make a banner or card telling your janitor(s) how much they are appreciated. A Gratitude basket could also be given to these special people.

Write a Gratitude note to all relatives and special friends letting them know why they are so special.

Plan a school-wide Gratitude nomination campaign where students can nominate fellow students and faculty whom they have observed committing a Random Act of Gratitude. Nominations should be posted in a visible place. At the end of the campaign, all the nominations can be used in a drawing for prizes.

Start a Random Act of Gratitude Club and commit to doing at least one Random Act of Gratitude per week. Record everything and turn in a “journal” as a final project or extra credit.

Make hearts for Valentine’s Day and post them all over the school. Include the name of one student, teacher, administrator, janitor, volunteer, etc., and write a Gratitude act to complete on each heart. Be sure that students find their hearts and complete their assigned task. Record comments and thoughts about the activity from students and staff members and publish them in the school newspaper.

Your school’s student council or Gratitude Club can sponsor an activity each day during National Gratitude Week and can announce the events each morning over the intercom. Some activity ideas include: A trash pick-up, a visit to a local senior home, homeless shelter, children’s hospital, animal shelter, etc.

Promote special classroom recycling projects. The profits can benefit a special Random Act of Gratitude activity or local cause.

Study kind people in history. Have students illustrate their Gratitude works and discuss them in class or write a report.

Make individual “check lists” for students during National Gratitude Week and encourage each student to complete some or all of the Random Acts of Gratitude gestures listed. Activities could include: helping neighbors weed their lawns; writing a note to a supervisor of someone who has helped you, thanking them for have such a wonderful employee; leaving enough money in the vending machine for the next person to get a fee treat; picking up litter; offering to baby-sit for a mother with young children to give her a day or evening to herself; surprising someone in your house with breakfast in bed (and cleaning up the kitchen); shoveling your neighbor’s driveway or mowing the lawn; smiling and saying thank you to the bus driver; putting a quarter in an expired parking meter and doing anything else that is showing gratitude and kindness.

 

Learning About Random Acts of Gratitude

INTRODUCING THE CONCEPT OF RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS AND COMPASSION

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Questions for Discussion

  • What is your definition of Gratitude?
  • Have you ever felt disappointed or cheated because you did something nice for another person, but he or she did not return the favor?
  • If you expect to get something back, are you then performing a kind act or are you really trading favors for favors?
  • Re-tune your definition of kindness.
  • Has anyone ever done something for you anonymously, without expecting something in return?
  • Do one generous act each day and then write down how you feel afterwards.

BACKGROUND-SAMPLES FROM VOLUNTEERISM IN AMERICAN HISTORY
Many people believe that young people volunteering - these “habits of the heart” - are deeply rooted in the American community’s volunteer spirit or frontier tradition of help-your-neighbor.

The observation by the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville over 150 years ago is often cited as an example. He felt that the strength of our democratic institutions lay in the citizens’ habit of getting involved through our uniquely American “voluntary associations.”

A brief summary of volunteering and serving in America will reveal the depth of this experience:

Colonial Period Through 1700s
Town meetings began in New England and set an example for citizen involvement. The Quakers developed a plan for responding to the needs of the poor. The American Revolution was fought by volunteer army. One example of “youth service” includes children making bandages. During the 1700s, youth were often recipients of volunteer-driven social reforms (free school societies, local public health boards, labor unions, and aid societies).

1800s
In the 19th century, voluntary associations flourished and became more organized, especially in urban areas. Examples of these include the Temperance Crusade of 1830s, Volunteer Health Boards working on epidemics, and fraternal organizations supporting orphanages and poor houses. Civic groups with a service emphasis evolved: American Red Cross, settlement houses, B’nai B’rith, boys clubs, YMCAs and YWCAs, Travelers Aid Society, and PTAs. Abolitionists relied on young people to help gather support.

1900s
In the early 20th century, the social reform movement resulted in the creation of the Children’s Bureaus, Urban League, Goodwill Industries, 4-H in rural areas, Scouts, etc. In the early part of the century, William James described service as the “moral equivalent of war.” In 1918, William Kilpatrick advocated experiential earning outside of school. During the 1930s, the Progressive Movement advocated using education as a tool of social transformation. At mid-century (1940s to 60s), private foundations and peace crusades surfaced. During the 1950s, Eisenhower advocated volunteerism through The Citizenship Education Project. In the 1960s, Kennedy’s “New Frontier” campaign ushered in programs like VISTA and Peace Corps, and grassroots involvement with social activities, civil rights, labor reform for migrant workers, consumer rights, urban renewal, and the peace movement.

In the 1970s, several national reports encouraged service as a way of broadening the range of people young adults interact with and as way to reconnect with community. In the 1980s, President Reagan advocated volunteerism. and President Bush promoted a Thousand Points of Light. Several states created initiatives for funding, planning, and encouraging service while Congress debated national service and service corps options. School reformers (Foxfire: Eliot Wigginton, A Place Called School by John Goodlad, Student Service: The New Carnegie Unit, W.T. Grant Foundation reports) encouraged the use of Service Learning and community service in school programs. In November 1990, President Bush signed the National and Community Service Act of 1990. (19) -Excerpted from “Imagine” (a report on community service by Martin Kimeldorf)

EXERCISE #1-WHY PEOPLE ARE DOING RANDOM ACTS OF Gratitude
An entire movement has been created around people doing kind things as individuals rather than as members of a group. It could mean walking down the street and plugging parking meters as Janyce Mose does in Olympia, Washington. Perhaps one day you pass out pencils to students in your class. Someone is doing a report and you see a television show he or she could use, so you call. These are all little, unselfish acts that make our work less hostile and more hospitable. And the good news is, it probably makes you feel good doing them. The following passage is my opinion of how Random Acts of Gratitude fits into our world today.

We live in a world where so much is uncertain. Nature’s random floods and earthquakes destroy homes and entire communities in a flash. Drive-by gangster shootings terrorize entire neighborhoods. These random acts of violence douse hope, call forth anger, and destroy all that is good in us.

When you are uncertain if you can combat this pervasive misery, when you are unsure of what to do next, when you don’t know who is on your side-stand up and do the unthinkable! Contribute a random act of kindness, and in the doing, stake out a small part of the planet that looks forward to your presence.

When you buy an ice cream cone for the kid who just dropped his chocolate scoop, you buy more than ice cream. If you are in a long line of cars and you let someone turn in from a side street, you momentarily turn the asphalt jungle into a safe haven. Letting the stranger behind you (with only one package) go first in the grocery line means there are fewer strangers in the world at that moment. When you take a bunch of pink carnations on a cold winter’s day to the elderly widow at the end of the lock, you treat yourself to wisdom beyond your years. And if you take the time to leave a message on a phone machine to cheer up a depressed person, you put a human face on the technology that surrounds (and sometimes threatens) us.

In the process of acting compassionately, you change life for yourself as well as others. You give yourself the power to be a hero, to experience a divine and cleansing moment of unselfishness. For that brief instant, you crash through the darkness of cruelty, ignorance, and mistrust which daily threatens to engulf us.

These Random Acts of Gratitude may not end racial hatred, droughts, or murders. But they do throw a counter weight onto the scales where we measure our worth each day. At the end of the day, you’ll know one thing for sure: you chose not to live in the world as it is, but rather as you would like it to be.” -

Samples of Random Acts of Gratitude
Look over the following samples based on suggestions in the book Random Acts Of Gratitude. Then make a list of ten random acts you could perform in your life at home, at school, or in the community at large.

  • Leave a small gift at the door of a family suffering severe illness, like cancer.
  • Pick out some place or object to improve. Clear out a vacant lot and plant trees and shrubs, straighten a street sign, or re-paint a bus stop.
  • Return your shopping cart to the storage area.
  • Turn in items to be recycled.
  • Write a note to a teacher, thanking him or her for a lesson.
  • Select a person in your neighborhood or class who is feeling down. Send that person a greeting card anonymously.
  • If you’ve been a jerk (for instance, if you got into a name calling situation and lost control), apologize, even if the other person is wrong.
  • Take birdseed in a small pouch and spread it where you see our feather friends congregating.
  • Visit an animal shelter and bring some treats for the animals and the staff.
  • Do a job (like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or shoveling snow) for someone who is having hard times, and surprise him or her by not charging.
  • Take another student to the library with you and help him or her get started on a school report.
  • Send a letter to someone (like a teacher or coach) who made a difference in your life.
  • Let the impatient person behind you go ahead of you in line.
  • Bake cookies or another treat, and give them away at school or at work.
  • Bring pencils to school and give them away to people who forget to bring one.
  • Slip some money into the pocket of a needy friend.
  • Buy a movie ticket for the person behind you in line.
  • Reverse roles. Do something for others who usually do something for you. Clean up the living room, make breakfast on Sunday, or do the laundry.

Your List of Possible Random Acts
Create a list of ten Random Acts of Kindness that might interest you. What could you do for classmates, people you see everyday, neighbors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, even strangers?

EXERCISE #2-JOURNAL REFLECTIONS ABOUT PERFORMING COMPASSIONATE ACTS
Perform at least five Random Acts of Gratitude. In a journal, document the following for each random act of kindness. Decorate this journal page and turn it in. It will be posted on the wall.

  • what you did
  • how others felt (or how you think they felt)
  • how you felt afterwards

EXERCISE #3-CONSIDER THE IMPACT ON YOUR HEALTH
It has been shown that doing “for others” can benefit the volunteer as much as the recipient. Read the following quotes to understand how this could happen. Then, answer the question at the end.

From High School Student #1
I got involved after I was required by the court to do community service. Funny thing is, I was good at it. In fact, my supervisor asked me to stay on and start a program to get other youth involved. They gave me a desk, a phone, and a small budget. I started a phone bank where neighbors could call in to get some help with chores they were unable to do themselves. Most of the requests came from elderly people and single parents. I believe that youth can make a difference if we work together. In the end, I realized that I am not a bad person, and I am capable of incredible things if I take advantage of the freedom within myself. By giving away my time and myself, I got back a whole lot.

From High School Student #2
Whenever my buddy (a child at the family shelter) knows that I am coming to see her, she waits at a certain corner. As soon as she sees me, she runs to me and gives me a huge hug. I can relate to the relationship I have with my buddy because I had no brothers or sisters, and when I was young my father traveled 70% of the year. I would have really valued a relationship similar to the one my buddy and I have. My buddy is not the only one benefiting from this program. I also feel needed and appreciated.

From a College Student
The organization I work in, Deaf Access Anonymous, provides information and access to twelvestep recovery programs for hearing impaired individuals. Our goal is to raise money to hire the services of interpreters to allow these men and women the opportunity to participate in group meetings and related activities.

The benefits I personally received from volunteering have been ten-fold. I could never have imagined how much I would get back from giving of my time and ideas. I am in recovery myself, and helping others helps me to stay clean and sober. When I reach out a helping hand to someone else, I receive help in return. When I am at a DAA meeting, giving information on the TDD, making phone calls to raise money, or just telling someone about our organization, I take the focus off myself.

Other gifts from my volunteer work are the opportunity to practice and learn sign language, learn more about deaf culture, and meet deaf individuals. I am currently taking the prerequisite classes for the Interpreter Training Program at SCCC. Had I known all the unbelievably good things that would come my way when I quit drinking and drugging, I might have stopped long ago! Life is so much richer when you give some of what you have away.

From Write To The Core (about journal writing)
Many people who volunteer are described as altruistic. In that larger sense, they work from their hearts first. In the magazine American Health, Alan Luks and Eileen Growald speak convincingly about the health benefits of altruism and volunteering. In the article “Beyond Self” they cite evidence in various studies, which reveal that men who volunteered had longer life expectancies than those who did not volunteer. Even people who simply viewed movies showing altruistic acts displayed an improved immune response. All of this research lead the authors to conclude that our evolution or biology has lead us down a path where our individual health is tied to our collective health. In other words, we are dependent on interacting with others, and volunteering is one of the highest quality interactions one can engage in. When you help others, you engage in another form of health - building community wellness.

Conversely, people who are cut off from others experience increased rates of illness. Other studies revealed that women living in isolation had more health problems. In other words, people need people for their health.

In 1 or 2 paragraphs, tell why you agree or disagree about the following statement: Performing Random Acts of Gratitude or volunteerism may make me feel better or help me to live longer and happier.

EXERCISE #4-THINKING BIG
Pick a quote which best describes your feeling about doing a Random Act of Gratitude. Then tell why you picked it. Explain what it means to you.

  • We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. -Winston Churchill
  • I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics but for our contributions to the human spirit. -John Kennedy
  • Our culture is at a critical cusp-a time that requires that we define what it means to be a citizen in a democracy. Within our nation we need to foster a greater sense of collective responsibility. -Robert Bellah (author)
  • For whatever befalls the Earth, befalls the sons and daughters of the Earth…Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. -Chief Seattle
  • Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve -Martin Luther King

Submit your own high school kindness ideas and experiences for this document via e-mail to info@randomactsofgratitude.org. Please specify that the activity is for high schoolers.

Random Acts of Gratitude Clubs

Gratitude_University_00Welcome Students and Churches

Could you and your friends benefit from a little more Gratitude? Chances are the rest of your campus could, too! Here you’ll find all sorts of Gratitude ideas that are perfectly suited for your college or university from exam-time treats to free hugs. And if you really like doing random acts of gratitude, perhaps you should start a Gratitude Club at your school.

10 Steps to Creating a Student Organization or Church Group

So you’re interested in creating a kindness-related student organization? Awesome! That’s great! In order to get you started, we have outlined ten steps below to help you get your group going. Good luck!

1. Make a decision to start the club

Congrats! You have already completed the first step! Now let’s use your interests and ideas to develop your concept a bit more. Take a minute to answer the following questions so you have a more detailed description of what you want your club to be.
• What is your club’s name?

• What is your club’s mission?
» Create a one-sentence mission statement outlining your identity and purpose―who your club is and what you do.

• What do you want to accomplish?

» Different than your purpose/mission, set goals for your club and what you want to accomplish within the near future. We encourage you to be creative and optimistic about what you want to accomplish (specific events, encouraging a kinder culture). In time, these will become concrete and realistic goals.

• What initial resources do you need to succeed?

  • »  In order to make your club everything you want it to be, ask yourself what resources you need to make it happen. Since you’re brand new you will have to make some compromises, let’s differentiate betweena. Necessities – what your club needs to survive; and

    b. Luxuries – what your club wants to make itself better.

  • »  Resources could be tight at the beginning so knowing what is absolutely necessary for yourorganization to survive will make it easier; with this distinction you can form a solid base for your organization and then continue to improve your idea as you get more resources.

2. Talk to your friends

  • Now that you have a better idea of what you want to do, start talking people to gauge interest and to get feedback on your idea. While talking to your peers, find committed members for your club. Anybody could be a potential member! You will need support so always be looking out for ways friends can help.
  • Numerous colleges have a student organization showcase where you can set up a booth
    to recruit. For other universities where this is not an option, ask professors to make announcements before lectures or take a minute at the beginning/end of your class to talk to your peers.
  • Although you definitely want members, remember that not everyone has to be a part of your organization to contribute to it. Even if someone is not in the club, they can still provide helpful resources to your group. You will need supporters and people to spread the word about what you’re doing. Do not be discouraged if some people don’t join, they can come to your events and support you in different ways!

• Talking to people about your club also serves as a preliminary way to begin publicizing for your organization. By sharing your idea you are advertising and spreading the word; that is helpful and useful in its own way.

  1. Hold an interest meeting at your church or school

    • Once you have some people interested and committed, you can host an event or meeting to find more committed members. Hold an interest meeting on campus to recruit people to your group. This is a great way to efficiently share your idea with a lot of people and to have a public Q&A to address concerns people have.
    • Similar to Step 2, you want to continue to recruit members to your organization. However,
      a main difference between Step 2 and Step 3 is efficiency. Find a more effective method to spread the word and recruit and use that to get more people informed and committed to your organization. So however you can efficiently recruit members and share your club idea, go for it!
  2. Appoint/Elect officers

    • Now having committed people, you will need to assign responsibilities. The most effective
      way to delegate tasks is based on your club’s mission statement, goals, and needs. Using the answers you have from the questions in Step 1, determine what are the fundamental aspects of your organization. Particularly based on the club’s needs, you should assign different people areas of the group to manage.
    • To clarify, we use the term “assign responsibilities” loosely. Based on the number of members you have, you could either appoint officers or elect officers; do whichever is best for your group at this time.
    • And, along those same lines, be flexible and creative with the responsibilities. If you find someone who is passionate about a certain aspect of your group, encourage them to follow their interests. People are tons more effective when they care about what they’re doing, so if you find someone passionate about doing something within your group, support their passion and creatively find a way they can contribute to your club.
  3. Develop club structure

    • With your officers, you should create an outline of the structure of your organization, if
      you have not done so already. Begin to develop your constitution; you will need an official document to become a recognized organization, to receive funding, and to qualify for other resources provided by your school.
    • Additionally, for sustainability aspects, it is vital for your club to have procedures as to how it operates. Go back to what your club’s goals are and work those into the official documents; think about how you want your group to look and how you want it to operate in the future and include those details in your outline of the club’s structure.
  4. Find an advisor

    • It will be helpful to find someone to provide advice to your group. Talk to your professors, teaching assistants, resident advisors, etc. to find someone that can mentor your club as you continue to develop your ideas.
    • Additionally, many schools actually require student organizations to have an advisor in order to be officially recognized by the university. You should research your school’s specific requirements to make sure.
    • The faculty and staff at your school also have networking connections, which could be useful for your organization. They also have probably been at your college for a few years and should be able to direct you to other people that can help you with your questions, concerns, etc. Having someone to offer suggestions and helpful advice will be incredibly useful for the sustainability of your club. Honestly, even if your school does not require an advisor, we would highly recommend finding a professional at your school to help mentor you and your organization.

7. Register as a club

• The first step will be to check out your school’s office of student life. Meet with the staff there or look on the office’s website to see what requirements your school has in order to make your group official. Colleges have a wide variety of stipulations so find what the specific ones are at your school. As an additional resource, you can also consult our “Club Registration Requirements” document for a list of common requirements we have found at universities across the country.

8. Organize your club’s funds

  • You will need funds in order to sustain your organization. Many schools provide funding either through the student government or through academic departments. Both of these options
    you would have to apply for, so consult your school’s office of student life for specifics of
    what is available at your college. Be aware that most schools do require you to be an official, recognized organization before you receive funding. Also be aware that funding from the school can take a lot of time and they might not give you as much as you ask for, so we recommend you consider other options.
  • Outside of what is available at your school, you can find other funding opportunities in the form of grants or scholarships. Talk with local businesses or community organizations to see if there are funds you can apply for in your city.
  • Besides provided funding, we would encourage your group to fundraise. Be ambitious and find creative ways to raise money for your organization. This is another great way to advertise your group – hold an event or host an event to raise money for your club and to publicize for your organization’s purpose.9. Publicize

• In addition to raising money, you will need to raise awareness. People will not support what they are unfamiliar with. Therefore, publicity and advertising will also be critical to your group’s longevity. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • »  Many schools hold student organization showcases where you can publicize for your group.This is also a great way to recruit new members.
  • »  Besides organized events, flyering and chalking around your school will be a good way toget the word out.
  • »  Ask professors if you can speak for a minute at the beginning/end of a lesson to make anannouncement to your classes.
  • »  Attend other events at your school and make it known which group you’re from. Bysupporting other established groups and participating in well-known activities, you can demonstrate your club while meeting more people and making connections.
  • »  It might go without saying but create a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Social media is becoming the main way people communicate so make sure that you have ways to connect with your members and other interested people in your community. Additionally, this will be a wonderful resource for you to direct people to if they have more questions about your organization.
  • »  Lastly, you’re encouraged to be creative in how you publicize. Think outside the box and most importantly, have fun! You’re starting a kindness-related organization so demonstrate to your school exactly what your club is capable of!
  • »  What is your club’s mission?10. Hold an event
  • Push yourselves to hold an event. Building off the ideas mentioned in Step 9, holding an event is the best way to truly show your campus what your group does. Hosting an event makes the entire activity about you and your purpose; you can more accurately demonstrate how your group contributes to the campus community and why you are important to your school. Contact your college’s newspaper and ask them to cover the event – it’s great (free) publicity for your group!
  • Also, by holding an event, you demonstrate a need for funding. If you provide a service for your school, they will be more likely to support you fiscally.11. Celebrate, assess, and reflect

• This additional step serves as a reminder for you to take some time to celebrate the progress you have made so far and to reflect upon your initial goals, as you outlined in Step 1. Continue to push yourself and your members but take some time to modify your goals and to update them as needed; assess where you have come from and where you want to go... and then go there! You should be proud of what you have accomplished. You’re doing great – keep up the good work!

If at any point during your process, feel free to contact Kids for Gratitude with questions or comments. We support what you are trying to do in creating a kindness-related organization and will be happy to help in whatever way we can. Let us know how you’re doing and what we can do to help you in your development.

Cell Phone Safety

Sexting is the act of sending or posting sexually suggestive or explicit messages, videos or photos electronically, usually between cell phones. The practice of sexting among teens has become a serious issue both socially and legall

Gratitude_University_00

Recent survey's have shown that 1 out of 5 teens between the ages of 13-19 admitted to sexting nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to someone.

Why Teens Tell Us They Are Sexting

  • Felt pressured by friends or boyfriends / girlfriends
  • It is a way of being flirtatious
  • Sexting in response to having received a sexting from someone else first
  • It was only meant to be a "Joke"

Social Dangers of Sexting

Many teens do not think about the dangers or unanticipated consequences associated
with Sexting.
  1. Any images or texts can be shared and posted all over the world in a matter of seconds.  In almost all cases, a sext message is shared with other friends or individuals outside of the intended recepient.  Over 50% of teens indicate it is very common to sharge text messages or inappropriate images among their friends.
  2. Once an image is sent into cyber space it can never be truly deleted.
  3. Many images can end up on pornographic or other related websites.
  4. Sexting often results in a high rate of the sender being embarrassed, ridiculed by peers and in many cases cyber bullying.
  5. Sexting results in high rates of depression and in serious cases even suicide.

90% of Teens Surveyed Indicated They Were Not Aware That Sexting Was Illegal and Could Result in Criminal Charges.

Current laws associated with sexting vary and in many states may result in felony charges associated with distribution of child pornography.  Most adolescents do not recognize the seriousness of this behavior and courts across the country are facing the legal dilemma of how to handle sexting cases associated with adolescents.


In order to help protect our teens, we must educate them.  The first step in effective prevention is through education.

Meet Team

“To express gratitude is to put into words a beautiful sense of wholeness. Recognizing the people, the experiences, and the extraordinary gifts of life which feed our souls.” ― Anna

 

Bardi Toto Drake

Founder

Founder, NY Times Best Selling Author, Branding and Attraction Marketing Strategist, Philanthropist.

Frank Shankwitz

Advisory Board Director

Founder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Author, Speaker Philanthropist

Dawn Ranieri

Board of Director

Author, Entrepreneur,Former Social Worker, Reiki Master, Philanthropist

Delice Coffey

Board of Director

Author, Performance Game Coach, Entrepreneur

 

Sponsors

2-6

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You can use the following information to contact us if you wanna join us or anything need to communicate.

Name: Kids For Gratitude Administrator

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