by Kelly Keeley

Peace Learning Center, with support from the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, Division of Mental Health and Addiction, hosted Project Kindness last Wednesday, the 16th. When 10 AM hit, 170 students started filing in to The Athenaeum eager to see what they would experience in the coming hours. One student spoke with me about how excited she was to be participating in this project, saying that kindness was important because of all the hate going on in the world today.

After breakfast and a little coloring session, Skye Berger, a speaker and facilitator focusing on youth engagement and self-care, jumpstarted the morning with a lesson in kindness. She interacted with the group by playing a game of rock paper scissors, in which the entire room was involved with. She was able to teach the students about kindness through a game that they are already familiar with. This made the youth so much more engaged in the exercise. From there, the students broke into smaller sessions. As a classroom, they engaged in a lesson about being an upstander by reading through the skills, brainstorming ways to help their peers, and then acting the skills out through the ways they can support or distract their fellow students.

By the end of the day, they were willing to stand-up for themselves and their own passions as well as stopping bullying that they see. It was eye-opening to see the youth noticing that they can make a difference by being kind.