• Kindness pledge
  • Felida Elementary students practice kindness by sharing inspirational messages
  • Felida Elementary students practice kindness by painting rocks with inspirational messages
  • Felida Elementary students practice kindness by cleaning their school
  • Felida Elementary students practice kindness by making toys for the Humane Society
  • Felida Elementary students practice kindness by making blankets for families in crisis

The entire Felida Elementary student body and staff recently worked to polish a skill that, like playing the piano or cooking the perfect pizza, requires practice.

That skill was kindness.

On a January morning, they made fleece blankets for families in crisis, assembled health kits for homeless people, beautified their school and created inspirational cards and messages. Staff members, many of whom volunteer outside of school hours, chose service projects that would benefit Felida, other schools and the larger Vancouver community.

Their inspiration for the Choose Kind event was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose messages about love, forgiveness, kindness and respect ring as true today as they did during his lifetime.

“We believe very strongly in Dr. King’s mission and vision, and what resonated with us is this notion that kindness starts with us,” said Principal Kris Janati.

Fifth-grader Samra Tarrant agreed. In preparing for her role in an assembly at the school for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the student-leader reflected on Dr. King’s legacy and his sustained commitment to serving others. “You should never, ever give up no matter how hard it gets,” she said.

For Janati and the Felida staff, taking care of others is linked to creating fulfillment and confidence, which correlate to academic learning as well.

Felida Elementary staff members hope that Choose Kindness becomes an annual event but also has an immediate impact. Said Janati, “I’m eager to see how this instills kindness of a daily level, how kids are inspired each day to do kindness to each other beyond what they already do.”

Said student-leader and fourth-grader Emily Patton, “Even if no one is watching to give you a compliment, you should still try to do the right thing. And if you are doing the right thing, you shouldn’t stop.”

Just like Dr. King’s legacy, kindness spreads quickly.

Choose Kind results

On Jan. 18, students, staff members and volunteers at Felida Elementary:

  • Deep-cleaned 32 tables and 300 chairs in the cafeteria
  • Planted 40 plants into the planter boxes around the school
  • Assembled 105 health kits
  • Created 485 cards for students at Sacajawea Elementary
  • Created 338 dog/cat toys for the Humane Society
  • Created 75 fleece blankets for Project Linus
  • Painted and wrote messages on more than 500 rocks
  • Painted 4 murals that will be displayed at the school