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Embracing Empathy: Kindness Week at Barrack

Mikaela Garber

Managing Editor

Random Acts of Kindness Week, which ran from February 12-16 this year, was set up in 1995 by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. It was created as a reminder that even a small act of kindness can greatly impact someone else's day. In a world where people are often so busy doing their own thing, it is important to take time to be selfless and think of others. This is especially true in February, which traditionally is one of the busiest times for students as they are right in the middle of the school year. Contrary to what one may believe, being kind to others not only gives them a pick-me-up, but is also likely to give the kind person a burst of dopamine as well. 

This year, Barrack celebrated Kindness Week with several different activities and giveaways each day of the week, sponsored by our school’s Mental Health Matters (MHM) Club. The club’s mission is to spread awareness about mental health, particularly in the scope of our school. As such, MHM Club felt it fitting to bring attention to Kindness Week, because being kind to others and ourselves is important for our mental health. 

Prior to the official start to the week, MHM club members prepared and hung up signs throughout campus with easy, accessible ways to be kind. Suggestions included everything from giving others the benefit of the doubt to simply loving oneself. As students rushed between classes, they got the chance to contemplate acts of kindness that they may not have previously considered. 

The week kicked off with laptop stickers on Monday. MHM members facilitated the giveaway in the front lobby when people arrived that morning. Students and staff alike had the opportunity to choose from varying designs, all of which emphasized the importance of being kind. The stickers - that now find themselves on laptops, swipe card holders, and water bottles - are a consistent reminder to the Barrack Kehillah that our community needs to be built on kindness. While the plan for Tuesday was to hand out hot chocolate, the snowy weather had different plans, and the school day became a shortened, virtual day. Even though we were not physically together to exhibit kindness in the Barrack halls, the virtual day provided everyone with the chance to be kind at home, whether that be hanging out with a sibling or practicing self-care. Wednesday brought a new day, with a chance to reflect on kindness through conversation. In the comfortable, supportive environment of advisory groups, students considered what kindness meant to them and what they do to be kind to themselves and the people surrounding them, among other discussion prompts. In addition, the Barrack community enjoyed hot cocoa at lunch, with the hope that it would warm everyones’ heart, prompting them to spread that warmth and kindness to others. The drink was served in “cups of kindness,” which featured kindness stickers to brighten people’s days and spread positive vibes. Finally, Thursday was a schoolwide PJ day, making it a cozy end to the short week. 

Ultimately, Kindness Week was a rousing success! Barrack saw many amazing acts of kindness throughout the week, and MHM Club hopes that everyone will carry the good vibes into their lives, spreading love and kindness during the coming months, too!

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