Oct. 22, 2012
-- Westlake Village, California
—The Oaks Christian Middle School Kindness Crew was introduced to 7th graders in a class assembly on October 3, but this program has been in the planning since last year to address all the issues facing middle school students, including body image and self-esteem issues.
Last spring, Middle School Spiritual Life Director Dee Dee Mayer arranged for the Fed Up organization to train and certify six girls in high school and middle school to work with their peers to encourage kindness and to stand up to any injustices or hurtful behavior. Recently, the OCS middle school program has added boys to the leadership to encourage kindness and provide a forum for both girls and boys to address these important issues.
During the October 3 assembly, 8th graders and Kindness Crew leaders Karisma Carmichael, Megan Thornton, and Skylar White each spoke of times they were hurt by unkind behavior, but they shared how those experiences have motivated them to be a part of the solution rather than add to the problem. Visiting from the high school, junior and Spiritual Life Prefect Alexa Mayer also spoke and encouraged students to imagine what the “power of being kind” can do to change one person’s life and a whole school culture. “Be the person who stands up for others,” said Alexa.
On October 16, the Kindness Crew was back, sharing its message in a 6th-grade pod assembly. The Kindness Crew will be working throughout the school year to build an effective and open forum for students to discuss issues and gain valuable tools and insights for combating general middle school meanness. “The student leaders will be working to create a culture of kindness in a variety of ways, including visiting pods with lessons and activities and working closely with the grade-level deans,” explained Mayer. “We are excited to see the influence this program will have on the culture of our school.”