Students in the first grade class of Jasmine Banks at Goose Creek Elementary may be the happiest in Berkeley County School District.
While they learn the basics of math, reading and writing – they have been devoted to spreading kindness.
What began as a conversation on kindness and giving, sparked the idea to create a random acts of kindness campaign. The students have been spreading kindness since November – from leaving positive notes for teachers to organizing sock and canned food drives.
The late Mother Theresa said, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” To those at Goose Creek Elementary, it has become obvious Banks’ students LOVE to help others.
“They have huge hearts, and they come in with smiles on their faces and ask, ‘How are we going to help someone today?’” she said. “They give compliments to one another, and know that a small act of kindness can make someone happy.”
In turn, Banks said joy is seen in her students, in and out of the classroom.
The campaign was its largest in December as the students followed a calendar of things to do during school, at home and in the community. Banks said their dedication to the project makes it difficult to identify the greatest “feel-good moment.”
She, along with fellow teachers, administrators and community groups are astonished.
“I had the best experience when going to the nursing home, Helping Hands and the homeless shelter after collecting all the items for our service projects to promote kindness,” she said. “They (organizations) all were in awe of all the time students put into getting things for them.”
A giving culture exists on the campus of Goose Creek Elementary. While random acts of kindness happen, school and district administrators describe the rate and volume at which the 1st-graders “gave back” as “admirable.”
“I don’t think people realize the pocket of poverty we are,” GCE Assistant Principal Christi Furrow said. “Many of them (students) realize that even though they are in need, they can also give back and there are blessings to giving back.”
Furrow is proud of the students and their teacher as she thinks about the character traits being developed.
“They are being prepared, not just for the next grade level,” she said. “We are preparing them to be productive citizens.”
Banks says she will continue the initiative and ranks the experience with her students among the top five in her teaching career.
“Being able to share my love of helping others with my children and the staff at Goose Creek Elementary is something that I am truly grateful for. It felt good to see smiles and see others in high spirits because of these acts,” she said.