When it comes to spreading kindness, people talk about holding doors open for others or asking how their day has been going. Recently, a Pewaukee Lake Elementary third-grade class devised its own way to spread kindness.
Students in Bridget Halverson's class decided to create kindness bracelets and sell them in the school and to their families. They would then donate the money to Positively Pewaukee. The results would go further than anyone expected.
It all started with a website.
The idea came through a classroom initiative that involved putting kindness cards in cubbies and giving compliments.
"We knew that kindness was an area we needed to work on, and so that kind of helped to start that off," Halverson said. "Even though I started the conversation, they were super excited about it."
Talk of making the bracelets came from Halverson, who mentioned to her class that she wanted a bracelet from a website her sister referred to called 100GoodDeeds.org for her birthday.
"I said that, 'Don't you think it's a cool idea? I think we should do something like that, but we'd probably have to do less than 100 beads, maybe 50 beads," Halverson said.
That's when one of her students, Julia Piper, volunteered to make the first of those bracelets. She made a sample of the beads at home, which took an hour. Once made, they work by moving a ring over a bead each time the wearer commits an act of kindness until they hit a button at the end.
The rubber band was the trickiest part, according to Julia and her mother and classroom volunteer Christine Piper.
"To move it. She was trying to figure out what to move so you knew that you did a good deed," Christine Piper said.
Pitching the idea
Halverson then contacted 100GoodDeeds to make sure organizers there were OK with using the idea.
She and Julia then teamed up to create a slideshow to present to principal Robin Wilson and associate principal John Vitale.
"We did it together to explain the process, and I let her do it because she was the one who came up with a sample we could share," Halverson said.
Julia said she was nervous, but said that the principals were excited about the idea.
"She came home very excited to tell us that she did it. As parents, we were proud that she inspired the class to get started," Christine Piper said.
Creating and selling the bracelets
The principals said they would buy the first round of supplies if the class gave each classroom, kindergarten through third grade, bracelets to make as a class. Halverson said that it was her class's project, and near the end, they asked a few other classes to fill in the last orders. Halverson also bought supplies for the students to work with.
The classes were split into several different committees, which were made up of charity, cards and packaging, advertising, order form and delivery.
The charity committee was tasked with finding a charity to support. Ultimately, the students decided on Positively Pewaukee, as they felt donating to that group would have more of a local impact.
The students priced their bracelets at $3 each and launched the sales to children in the school Feb. 10. They sold quicker than Halverson anticipated.
"We sold out right away, had no supplies left," Halverson said, "so it was a good lesson in supply and demand. So we had to figure out how many we needed to fill the rest of these orders we had. We had hundreds and hundreds of orders, and we had to order supplies three times because we kept running out."
By the time the selling period was over Feb. 24, the group had sold 813 bracelets and earned $2,345. They presented their earnings to Positively Pewaukee Executive Director Elaine Kroening on March 1.
Kroening and Positively Pewaukee Board President Melissa Murray accepted the donation. Both were blown away by the generosity of the children in Halverson's class.
Kroening said most of the money would go toward the fifth- and sixth-grade leadership program Positively Pewaukee conducts, along with its Community Connection projects, such as buying winter clothing and/or backpacks for kids that can't afford it.
"It's so cool to see how people are embracing this as just a little symbol," Kroening said. "We've got a lot of problems in our world right now. If we can each do 50 little acts of kindness, maybe that can change the world."