Provo schools create chain reaction of kindness

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The Provo School District's schools have been creating chains with kind acts written on them. (Photo courtesy Provo Council PTA)

The Provo School District’s schools have been creating chains with kind acts written on them throughout the school year. Registration to participate in the Kindness Rally ends Friday, March 20. (Photo courtesy Provo Council PTA)

Provo students have been working on a chain reaction of kindness this school year — from little things like helping other students pick up spilled crayons, to helping prevent bullying, to hugging a substitute teacher after other students were being unkind.

The program is part of Rachel’s Challenge, named after 17-year-old Rachel Scott — the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999 — and started by her dad and stepmom. Before her death, she wrote: “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”

In Provo, at the beginning of the school year all 18 schools had a Rachel’s Challenge assembly, where they were asked to sign banners to accept the challenge — look for the best in others, dream big, choose positive influences, speak with kindness and start your own chain reaction.

Some schools have started kindness clubs led by students with a faculty adviser, said Provo Council PTA president Jennifer Partridge. The club members work on kindness projects, make kindness posters and discuss ways they can focus on kindness. And each school has been building paper chains.

“Each link represents and act of kindness witnessed,” she said.

And the amount of bullying reported to the school district has decreased this year, Partridge added.

The program will culminate with a district-wide Kindness Rally at 6 p.m. on April 27 at Provo High School’s stadium.

Organizers will gather all the paper chains from the schools, and the students will parade out with the chains at the beginning of the event. Elementary and high school choirs and bands will perform, and there will be entertainment from BYU football players.

Organizers are hoping to show video clips of some of the acts of kindness at schools.

“We’re just going to celebrate all the great acts of kindness,” Partridge said.

One of the rally co-sponsors is the Fredette Family Foundation, which focuses on anti-bullying, Partridge said.

Everyone is invited to attend the rally, but if you want one of the event T-shirts (organizers ask that all attending students wear one), you’ll need to RSVP by Friday, March 20. The shirts are $4 each. To RSVP go to provokindness.org. Or print the form and take it to your school.

You can also RSVP (no shirt) on the Provo Kindness Facebook page, so organizers have an idea of how many people will attend. Partridge said organizers also are always looking for businesses interested in helping with the program.

For more information, go to provokindness.org.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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