Hundreds of San Diego schools kicked off a special week-long challenge Monday in hopes of teaching students that kindness matters.
The “Great Kindness Challenge” started eight years ago in San Diego when only three schools in Carlsbad participated. Now, the challenge is happening in more than 500 schools across the county and in thousands more around the world.
“People should be helping people out and being nice to one another," said Jade Barron, a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary School.
Jefferson's students were the first to take on the “Great Kindness Challenge.”
On Monday, the Carlsbad school saw firefighters, police officers, local community members, and the city’s mayor rally together in a ceremony to officially start the week of kindness.
Through Friday, spirit days, service projects, and kindness recess stations will be held for the students.
“Smile at 25 people. You should always smile at like, 100,000 people but 25 people's always good,” said third-grader Grace Seltzer.
Smiling at 25 people is the first act on the challenge’s suggested checklist.
The full checklist from the event’s website is listed below.
If the students at Jefferson check off every item on the list, their principal has promised to dance on the school’s roof in her pajamas.
The event was created by Kids for Peace, a Carlsbad-based non-profit aimed at providing community building services.
“This positive, proactive and powerful week will mobilize students nationwide as they create school climates that are respectful, compassionate, happy, and kind,” the non-profit said.
Roughly 12 million students in the U.S. participated, according to Kids for Peace.
After the week is up, more than half of a billion acts of kindness will be accomplished.