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Kindness in the community

Dickinson High School is kick-starting their kindness campaign in hopes of inspiring the greater Dickinson community. On Tuesday, members of the school's National Honor Society began distributing fliers with information regarding the high school'...

Dickinson High School is kick-starting their kindness campaign in hopes of inspiring the greater Dickinson community.

On Tuesday, members of the school's National Honor Society began distributing fliers with information regarding the high school's SMORE challenge - which encourages students to be self-reliant, motivated, organized, respectful and exemplary. The campaign seeks to encourage students and community members to perform random acts of kindness over the next week.

The social studies department spearheaded the challenge and asked students to distribute the fliers all over town to spread awareness. The fliers have two cards on them for people to cut out and pass around as well to further the project's reach. These cards read, "Smile, you've just been tagged," to remind those receiving a kind act to pass it along.

"It can range from all sorts of different things from buying the person behind you their drink to holding a door to smiling-anything and everything that we can do to spread the kindness and the cheer," said Jim Fahy, a social studies teacher at DHS.

In the past, the department has had quarterly projects to recognize different staff members, but the teachers decided they wanted a project to reach beyond the high school community, Fahy said. Last year the department implemented the challenge for the first time.

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Senior Elizabeth Yoder is this year's NHS president and is helping with the challenge.

"I think it's a great way for us to start implementing a sort of 'pay it forward' concept in our community, and it's been something we've been kind of trying to do within our high school with the SMORE cards," Yoder said. "Now that we're taking it throughout the community, I think it's really exciting because it will allow the community to see what we're trying to accomplish within the high school and help bring that out within the whole community as well."

The campaign also has a Facebook page called the DHS Random Acts of Kindness 2017 where people are encouraged to post their stories regarding these acts of kindness, said Brian Ham, the chair of the social studies department. Community members can post their experiences which allows those participating to see the real impact of their good deed, rather than the good feeling lasting only a moment, he said. He hopes these encounters help the students remember the importance of kindness in the community, something they can take with them long after graduation.

"We try to connect to them that what they're getting ready for is to go out to that community and to be part of it," Ham said. "We encourage them all the time not to just be on the sidelines but to take ownership and responsibility for the community and not always assume that someone else is going to do all the little things, but they need to do them."

Ultimately, the idea for such an event started from the department's fear that people think only large acts or big events can change someone's life, he said. He noted the equal importance of these smaller kind acts and their ability to have a great impact on people. Everyone wins if people do a little extra every now and then, Ham said.

Principal Ron Dockter said he thought it was great for students to get out into the community, noting that some people view teenagers more as troublemakers. This initiative gives the school a chance to demonstrate what kinds of giving students really walk the halls.

"We would love for everyone to be involved because the concept goes beyond high school students, and that's why we're taking it into the community is we want to allow our community to be one of acceptance and involvement," Yoder said. "We're hoping that this program will help allow us to do that."

Related Topics: DICKINSON HIGH SCHOOL
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