Half Day School students take on bullying through acts of kindness

  • Half Day School third-graders Caroline Gibbs left, and James Hanson make friendship bracelet as part of The Great Kindness Challenge. The Lincolnshire school is among thousands participating in the global project.

      Half Day School third-graders Caroline Gibbs left, and James Hanson make friendship bracelet as part of The Great Kindness Challenge. The Lincolnshire school is among thousands participating in the global project. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Half Day School third-graders make friendship bracelets Thursday as part of The Great Kindness Challenge.

      Half Day School third-graders make friendship bracelets Thursday as part of The Great Kindness Challenge. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Half Day School students made paper chains featuring kind words and phrases for The Great Kindness Challenge on Thursday.

      Half Day School students made paper chains featuring kind words and phrases for The Great Kindness Challenge on Thursday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/26/2017 4:07 PM

Students at Lincolnshire's Half Day School are crafting friendship bracelets, creating a chain of friendly notes and making cards for patients at children's hospitals this week as part of a global anti-bullying program.

The effort, called The Great Kindness Challenge, involves millions of children in thousands of schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At Half Day, third- and fourth-graders have gathered in the gym each day during recess to make the chain, bracelets and cards.

On Thursday, teacher Kiera Degman gave the kids working on the cards tips for appropriate messages.

"You want to write something positive," she told the small group sitting cross-legged or kneeling on the gym floor. "Stay strong ... (or) I hope you would get better soon."

In another corner of the gym, third-grader Brendan Jones helped create the friendship chain -- a collection of blue-and-white paper links bearing upbeat messages from the students, such as "Be nice to everybody" and "Help people in need."

"It makes me feel happy," Brendan said.

The Great Kindness Challenge is organized annually by a California nonprofit group called Kids for Peace.

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Participants are challenged to complete 50 kind acts during the week. Sample checklists created by the group include actions such as smiling at people, picking up trash, telling a joke and lending a pencil to a friend.

Half Day's activities were organized by the student council and the school's social emotional learning committee.

In addition to the recess activities, the school decorated classroom doors and held a food drive.

Also, Libertyville High School sophomore Peter Dankelson spoke to Half Day students early in the week about his craniofacial disorder to teach them about empathy and the importance of understanding people's differences.

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