Stevenson students are spreading love, boosting positivity with kind cards
Stevenson High School students are boosting self-esteem and bringing smiles to campus this week by exchanging cards imprinted with positive messages.
Hundreds of cards with notes like "Your smile brightens my day" and "You are so helpful and caring" are circulating around the Lincolnshire school as part of a program dubbed "Share the Love."
They've been an instant hit, bringing joy both to the recipients and the people delivering the notes.
"I've been handing these out like crazy. A girl gave me a hug," Stevenson junior Vrushali Thakkar said. "I felt so good."
The effort was launched by the school's Peer Helpers group, which aims to make Stevenson a positive and welcoming place and promotes emotional well-being.
"Our goal is to make somebody smile for 10 seconds out of their day," Stevenson senior Evghenia Pijuc said of the card program. "I wasn't expecting everyone's reactions to be so happy. There have been so many hugs."
Distribution of the laminated cards starts with the Peer Helpers. More than 2,000 cards with about 30 different messages and colorful designs have been produced.
The cards are being shared with students, teachers and other Stevenson employees. Recipients are encouraged to give cards they receive to others at school rather than collecting them.
"It keeps the train going," Pijuc said.
Stevenson junior Aimee Staemmer was surprised to receive a card that said "Don't hold yourself back, you got this" during lunch Tuesday. The timing was perfect.
"I had a bad start to my day, and then I got this and it made me feel better," she said.
Stevenson High spokesman Jim Conrey spoke highly of the program and the students behind it.
"An uncaring and unfriendly school is a failure, no matter how great its test scores," Conrey said. "We want every one of our students to know they are valued, and this Peer Helpers initiative offers an excellent example."
Students and employees who post photos of their cards on Instagram with the hashtags #SHSPeerHelpers and #SHShareTheLove are entered into a raffle for gift cards to Jazzman's, Stevenson's coffee shop.
But the students are motivated by something much more gratifying than caffeinated prizes.
"Whenever you give (a card) to someone, you see their face light up," junior Mariam Reichert said. "It's really fun."
The activity coincides with homecoming week and runs through Friday. Organizers hope it will inspire students to take time every day to spread positivity and to remember how they affect the world.
"In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we can easily forget to take the time to engage in self-care or just general appreciation for all of the great things we are accomplishing," said Sarah LaFrancis, a Stevenson social worker and the Peer Helpers sponsor.