We are in the middle of “Random Acts of Kindness” Week.
Everyone can use more kindness in their lives and Random Acts of Kindness Week is a time when West Columbia, and the country, celebrate kindness. (Feature photo is WCFD speaking to students at East Point Academy)
The positive effects of doing kind acts for others can impact lives. Receiving and witnessing kindness can make us feel good, too.
That said, there are many in West Columbia who go out of their way to do kind things and they encourage kindness, too.
Nicole Hamm is a counselor at West Columbia’s East Point Academy. She stresses the importance of kindness to her students.
“As a school counselor, I greatly believe in the importance of kindness, especially in schools,” Nicole said. “I believe that teaching children to love and be kind to themselves is step one of creating a culture of kindness. To do this, I created affirmations that I have students repeat at the end of each of my classroom counseling lessons. “I am smart, I am kind, I am brave, and I will work hard.”
She is putting her lesson into action during the national celebration of kindness.
“I created a ‘Kindness Challenge’ for teachers and students. Each morning during the announcements, I give a kindness challenge for that day. This is a great way to get everyone excited and thinking about different ways to be kind to one another. We also had a kindness tree project for fifth-graders. Each time someone said something kind to them, they could add a leaf to the tree.”
Nicole teaches first-graders to say: ” I can be kind by saying kind words and helping people when they fall down. ”
She teaches fifth-graders to remember the acronym “T.H.I.N.K before speaking to someone else.” It stands for: T – Is it True?; H-Is It Helpful?; I- Is It Inspiring?; N – Is It Necessary?; and K- Is it Kind?
Kind acts are going on outside the classroom, too.
Connie Vaughn volunteers to pick up litter in West Columbia because she believes seeing trash on the side of our streets can have a negative influence.
“I feel good after picking up litter,” Connie said. “It is paying it forward.”
In West Columbia, Connie picks up litter on: Kensington Court; South Woodside Parkway; Orchard Drive; Chris Drive; Old Dunbar Road; and Huntington Drive.
Connie said she will persist in her effort to make a difference, and she is going to make it easier to see an anti-litter message.
“I am getting t-shirts made that will say ‘Let’s Talk Trash’ on the front and the back will say ‘Please Do Not Litter,'” Connie said.
Connie also offers a few suggestions to encourage others to take on litter. She said businesses and residents should walk to the edges of their properties and pick up litter. “Before you know it, our state will have a good start of being litter free,” she said.
West Columbia Police Sergeant Ronald Fair oversees the Department’s Community Action Team. Officers in the CAT conduct food collection drives during spring break, Christmas and Thanksgiving. The food is then delivered to families who may not have enough to eat otherwise.
Fair said School Resource Officers at Riverbank Elementary and Saluda River Academy for the Arts put together a list of children and families they see at school who may need help.
“It’s fulfilling to see the smiles on the faces when you bring them food,” Fair said. “It takes away the stress.”
Master Patrol Officer India Taylor is the School Resource Officer at Riverbank Elementary School.
“It feels great to be able to help,” India said. “The welcome you receive when you come to the door gives me a good feeling.”
Fair said KJ’s Market (used to be BI-LO on Augusta Road) and Walmart allow food drives at the stores. He said the Church of Latter Day Saints has also been a big help with the feeding effort.
These are just some of the people in West Columbia who make sure to be kind. They also want others to look out for your neighbor and do something nice when you can.
Listed below ares some West Columbia non-profits:
- Carolina Together
- Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center
- PETS Inc.
- The Cindy Roof Wilkerson Foundation
- South Carolina Episcopal Home At Still Hopes