As people around the world show their solidarity against bullying by wearing various shades of pink, Hope Secondary School (HSS) took Pink Shirt Day one step further by dedicating an entire week to kindness.
Organized by their leadership team, from Feb. 21 to Feb. 24 the school held various events and activities dedicated to having “fun, spreading kindness, and encouraging students to be kind all the time.”
“It is also about connection, a way for students to relate to each other. Encouraging and promoting a connected and positive school culture is very important to us. We work hard to create memories and experiences at Hope Secondary,” said Erin Wilkins, who is part of HSS’s leadership team and one of the school counsellors, via email. “One day or one week is not going to erase bullying, we are trying to help our students realize their potential and see that kindness and grace are always the best options.”
Kindness Week has been an ongoing annual event for the past six years. The idea for it came from both the school and leadership team recognizing that more than a day is needed to fight against bullying. As such, the school and team felt that a “week of kindness was the better option” in order to encourage students to be kind all year round. The week is also meant to encourage students to take charge and demonstrate their understanding of anti-bullying and how to be kind. This includes performing various acts of kindness throughout the year — which Wilkins says is something their students do regardless.
For this year’s Kindness Week, students got to enjoy tacos on Tuesday, heard from motivational speaker Ian Tyson on Wednesday (as well as wore gear/attire with phrases and words all linked to kindness), planned a kindness activity within the Hope community on Thursday, and hosted a Kindness Carnival (of 9 booths or stations with friendship bracelets, plinko, pink lemonade, cookie decorating, magnets, kahoot, and more) on Friday.
It is the hope of the school that, through this week, their students will make new connections, new memories, and come away from the event feeling positive and ready to help others.
“They work so hard to create a positive culture at Hope Secondary that goes beyond this last week in February. They are leaving a legacy and the events and activities they plan all year are the things that people remember about high school,” said Wilkins. “Maybe Kindness Week will help a student make a new friend, or try a new activity. Maybe they will read a positive note that makes them feel good, maybe they will pass this positivity on to others.
“We hope that it spreads into our community and that students take these memories with them when they leave HSS.”