Scavenging For Kindness

Scavenger hunts are cool.

Also, according to a Westport student-parent initiative, it’s “kool” to be kind.

This week, a “Kool To Be Kind Scavenger Hunt” gives parents and children a chance to have fun, learn about Westport and kindness, and bond in the process.

Kool To Be Kind — a year-old project initiated by mothers/professionals Cindy Eigen, Lynne Goldstein, Sarah Green and Melissa Shein — promotes kindness and compassion at an early age by training high school students to act as mentors and role models to elementary schoolers.

It’s being piloted in all 3rd grade classes at Long Lots and Coleytown Elementary Schools. Staples students — trained by K2BK — lead interactive lessons promoting kindness, empathy and the creation of anti-bullying allies.

The children just finished the 2nd of 5 lessons. Now they’re “hunting for kindness.”

Part of a K2BK poster.

They and their high school mentors created posters, which have been posted in 40 stores throughout Westport. A scavenger hunt for the posters starts tomorrow (Monday, January 16), and runs through Sunday (January 22).

Some do more than simply display the posters. For example, Crumbs is creating a K2BK cupcake. Earth Animal made a K2BKanine cookie. Lululemon has designed a K2BK yoga class.

The plan is for parents to help their kids use scavenger hunt cards to find the posters –and then discuss what they’ve found. If a poster says “Ally Power Rules,” a parent might initiate a discussion of the word “ally.” Hopefully, that will reinforce ideas the youngsters got from their K2BK lessons in school.

Once a child locates a poster, he or she will be given a sticker by a store employee. The class that gets the most stickers will earn a prize.

Long Lots 3rd graders (from left) Chelsea Strober, Rachel Varsano, Josh Leon, Jake Motyl and Justin Honig find a K2BK poster.

Nearly 4 dozen Staples students interviewed for spots as K2BK mentors. They thought they’d be teaching children, but they’ve also learned a lot themselves.

“They see their high school world through different lenses now. They seem changed in the process,” the K2BK founders say.

The scavenger hunt may also spread awareness throughout the community. Customers will see the posters hanging in windows or on walls. Owners will hand out K2BK fliers to anyone who asks about them.

“It’s simple,” the K2BK leaders say. “Being empathetic, nice and inclusive is what high school kids think is Kool. Being the opposite is not.

“If 3rd graders get the message, spread it to the rest of their school, and bring it home to their siblings and parents and then out to the community, we are doing our little bit to stop bullying and promote ‘ally power.'”

The founders have one other hope: that the scavenger hunt “will encourage everyone in the community to commit random acts of kindness, and pay it forward as much as possible.”

One response to “Scavenging For Kindness

  1. Kool to be Kind should be celebrated as an enlightened program communicating admirable values and teaching actionable skills that will serve all participants well. The program is being championed by a group of dynamic, sensitive, dedicated professionals, parents and students. I encourage the Board of Ed to extend the program to ALL 5 of the public elementary schools.