As a company, at our core is the belief that focusing on the needs of others and giving to them is the key to true success. With that in mind, as a company community service effort, we set out teach kids this important lesson. Being in business and understanding the logic of rewarding effort with cash, we decided to reward kids who perform random acts of kindness.
After some research and with the help of Kimberly Brooks, a 5th grade Florida school teacher, the idea of the Genuine Acts of Kindness Essay Contest was born.
The idea is simple. Kids would go out and perform a genuine act of kindness, write an essay about what they did, who they did it for and how it made them feel! We pitched the idea to a local school board and they were in full support. The first year, we printed enough flyers to give every 3rd, 4th, and 5th grader in Bay County, FL a flyer explaining the competition.
That year, approximately 250 kids entered the contest throughout the county out of 6,000 total 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. We felt the number was a little low at first…that is until we began to read the entries. The effort these youngsters put out was incredible. Their stories of random acts of kindness were amazing! Many would tell how they first earned their own money by mowing grass, babysitting, and doing odd jobs. Then they would take their earnings that they worked so hard for and go out purchase gifts for the needy and elderly. One little 3rd grade girl did a clothes drive and put boxes around her school to collect the donated clothing. The school was overwhelmed with all the donations…they just kept coming and coming. All clothing was then delivered to Goodwill. Several truckloads were collected! When we considered the stack of essays and the amazing impact it had on the children and community, we were more than satisfied with our return on our investment!
After collecting and reading, we needed to judge to decide winners. We asked 5 volunteer judges to read the essays and choose a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each grade.
Once winners were decided, the teachers of the winning students allowed us to do the winning presentation during classroom hours. As a company, we are given time during the presentation to speak to the children about the importance of giving.
We are in the 5th year and have collected over 2000 essays. It is hard to imagine the impact of this simple and fairly inexpensive competition. We view this contest as a top priority each year and look forward to its continued growth! UPDATE: In 2013, we are adding the Santa Rosa County School district.
If you would like to do the same in your local school system, please contact our office to get copies of all materials required including letters, flyers, and envelopes. You will spend approximately $1,000 per year on prizes, printing, and pizza parties. But what you get back will be beyond measure!
The prizes for each of the 3 participating grades are as follows:
|1st Place:||$100.00 cash & a large trophy
Pizza party for their entire classroom
|2nd Place:||$50.00 cash & a trophy|
|3rd Place:||$25.00 cash & a trophy|
It’s fairly easy to get teachers to support this in their classroom because most states have minimum writing requirements and this essay can count toward those standards. It’s a pre-planned character building writing project that simply has to be handed out to the kids!
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