The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

Ten Million Students Unite in Kindness

Carlsbad, Calif. (PR Web) – Kids for Peace announced today that over ten million students will unite in kindness for the 2017 Great Kindness Challenge, taking place in schools in all fifty states on January 23-27. With many people feeling that our country is more divided than ever, there is a great need for unity, compassion, love, and respect in our schools, communities, country, and world. The Great Kindness Challenge proactively creates a culture of kindness in schools nationwide, creating a ripple effect that is felt throughout communities and across the globe.

The Great Kindness Challenge was created in 2012 to promote inclusion and compassion among students. The program officially launched in Carlsbad, CA with only three schools. The annual program has multiplied in enrollment each year, expanding to over 12,000 schools in all 50 states and 90 countries.

Schools and students are drawn to the program for its positive and proactive approach to creating kinder school climates through a simple checklist of 50 kind acts. The checklist is distributed to students at the beginning of The Great Kindness Challenge week. Students are encouraged to complete each kind act over the course of the week, as well as take part in additional service and community-building events. Schools that participate receive a free toolkit, printable checklists and cheery support from The Great Kindness Challenge team, all at no cost, thanks to the generosity of the following sponsors: Dignity Health, Peaceable Kingdom, McGraw-Hill Education, KIND Healthy Snacks, Nordson, Little Pickle Press, ViaSat, SDG&E, and NRG.

Richard Tubbs, principal of Hope Elementary in Carlsbad, CA – one of the three founding Great Kindness Challenge schools – took kindness to new heights in 2016 by jumping out of an airplane to motivate his students. This year, the superintendent and other school principals in Tubb’s school district will hop on their surfboards and ride the wave of kindness! “I just think it’s very important that everyone is always thinking about ways to be kind and we just want everyone to be able to share that same kindness wherever they go in their community, around the world,” says Tubbs.

Jill McManigal, founder & creator of The Great Kindness Challenge, concurs. "No matter where you live or what you believe, kindness is a value we can all agree upon.”

Thousands of schools nationwide will go big with kindness as they open their doors on Monday morning. Complementary activities will include community kindness tunnels, kindness-themed dress-up days, daily kindness quotes, door decorating contests, inspirational “Post It” note messages on students’ lockers, a variety of schoolwide community service projects, and even a global service project to help build a new school in Pakistan.

"It's magic," said one student. "It's my favorite week of the year!"

While the excitement is enormous, it is the simple acts of kindness that prove to be the biggest hit. Some of the items on the checklist are: smile at 25 people, help your teacher with a needed task, help a younger student, and sit with a new group of kids at lunch. McManigal explains, "When students perform kind act after kind act, kindness becomes a habit. And when kindness becomes a habit, peace becomes possible.”

The vision for habitual kindness among children is precisely what inspired California-based maker of cooperative board games for kids, Peaceable Kingdom, to help sponsor the Great Kindness Challenge. "We are proud to be a part of this historic kindness challenge, and are eager to help spread the message of compassion and inclusion,” says Donna Jaffe, Peaceable Kingdom president.  

“Unlike traditional games, Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative games create community among players, promoting acceptance, curiosity, and, most importantly, kindness,” continues Jaffe. "We chose to partner with the Great Kindness Challenge because their mission matches exactly what we do every day.”

"Our team was overjoyed to reach the tremendous milestone of enrolling ten million students in 2017," said McManigal. "But now," she says, "we have even bigger goals. We intend to have The Great Kindness Challenge in every school in the United States by 2020, creating a culture where all people care for and respect each other."

If the students, teachers and principals who are already participating have anything to say about it, they'll surely reach this goal.

About The Great Kindness Challenge
The Great Kindness Challenge is one school week devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible, choosing from our checklist of 50 suggestions. The GKC has the power to increase empathy, tolerance, and compassion for all students from kindergarten through high school. Schools may still get involved by registering at no cost here: greatkindnesschallenge.org.

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