Snow kept them indoors Sunday morning, but a dedicated group of Elgin High School students followed through with their part in a regional event to spread kindness.
For 90 minutes, a small contingent from the girls varsity soccer team and their manager patrolled The Centre of Elgin fitness facility washing windows and handing out bottled water and snacks.
They were among thousands of soccer players and other student athletes from 100 high schools and communities in Chicago and the suburbs marking the start of National Random Acts of Kindness Week.
"They're out all over," said Joe Trost, spokesman for the event. "In the same amount of time it would take them to play a soccer game, they're making a difference in the lives of others."
In Gurnee, Arlington Heights, Lombard, Crystal Lake, Wheaton, Plainfield and points between, the prep athletes united in the community service campaign. The event is part of the Making A Difference On AND OFF The Field campaign presented by the charitable group Buddy's HELPERS and the PepsiCo Showdown, a high school soccer tournament held April 7-14 in Schaumburg.
"It's the on and off the field aspect of being a well-rounded person," said Kylie Graves, an Elgin High senior and point person for this year's event.
"It doesn't have to be a long time. It's the idea you're giving back," she added.
Students were provided with a list of suggested ideas, such as paying for a stranger's coffee, bringing a coloring book and new crayons to a hospital, thanking police officers, or helping someone carry items to their car.
"We're glad to be here and like to help our community," said Brittany Dazzo, who was the Elgin High organizer last year.
Graves baked chocolate chip cookies intended for firefighters at one of the city's fire stations, but given the weather, the EHS group focused on The Centre.
"I was surprised," said Alex Castaneda, who cheerily accepted a bottle of water. "I'm enjoying it."
Trost said student participation has more than doubled from 2,000 last year. Those who take part donate $5 for supplies with $1 going into a larger pot to purchase bikes and scooters for 100 students at a predominantly low-income school in Chicago, he added.
The morning ended with sticky notes stuck to car mirrors with positive messages, like 'You are so worthy!' as a day brightener.
Random Acts of Kindness Week is a worldwide celebration that takes place the second full week of February each year.