Kids to march for kindness Saturday in downtown Libertyville
A planned march Saturday in Libertyville will be short and sweet, organizers hope.
Political signs won't be allowed, so don't expect any controversy. Rather, the two residents heading the Kids Kindness March from 4 to 4:30 p.m. downtown at Cook Park hope to change the world in a different fashion.
Kids aged 3 to 11 will carry signs like "Kindness is the Coolest" and "Be Kind, Be Brave, Be You" to demonstrate the power and importance of kindness.
Jami Schaer and Laura Wood are the "two mamas on a mission" who a year ago founded Fox and Trove, a kindness-spreading, bullying prevention company for kids aged 3 to 6.
Since last fall, the nonprofit organization has held assemblies for preschoolers and kindergarten students at no cost. A few weeks ago, it launched a "kindness curriculum" being pitched to educators.
The idea, according to the pair, is to stop bullying before it starts by teaching young children how to be kind and brave.
"I kept hearing from friends that kids in the area were being bullied in kindergarten," said Schaer, a former licensed middle and high school history teacher. "I couldn't believe kids were seen as so mean in kindergarten and first grade, so I started doing research."
Schaer said kids who are kind and brave are happier and healthier than peers and more likely to be so as adults. They hope to instill positive behavior and give children tools to be socially, emotionally and academically successful.
"We want to stop it (bullying) before it starts with kindness skills," such as empathy, emotion regulation and conflict resolution, according to Schaer.
The company's name refers to a children's story about a fox, which are solitary in nature, who wanted to make friends.
"Something we like to talk about is raising the next generation of world changers," Wood said. "We want to teach children how to be strong and resilient but also kind and giving."
"What we do goes so far beyond bullying," Schaer added. "We're teaching kids to become impassioned about causes and think about the world at large."