Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Foundation and The KIND Foundation partnered for The KIND Schools Challenge. Middle and high school students nationwide were invited to get creative and submit a project idea to foster kindness within their school communities. 

How The Challenge Works

  1. Create a team of 3-5 students
  2.  Submit project
  3. Top 10 will be picked
  4. Winner will be chosen

The Top Ten Finalists From this year 

Allendale Columbia School // Pittsford, New York
B.R.I.C.K, which stands for “Building Respect, Inclusivity, Community, and Kindness,” will allow each student in the Allendale community to decorate a brick with something meaningful as a way to get to know one another. The bricks will then be joined together to build a wall of kindness that will continue to grow for years to come.

ELL Give Back Program
Medford High School // Medford, Massachusetts
This program, inspired by the team’s experience as English language learners, aims to bridge the gap between academic English language learning and everyday language needs. The library of videos that they plan to create will help students who are learning English navigate tasks such as obtaining a bus pass and submitting service hours.

Gender Spectrum Awareness Project
Frontier Regional School // South Deerfield, Massachusetts
This group plans to petition their school to add more gender inclusive bathrooms that are accessible for all students. In tandem with inclusive bathrooms, they aim to inspire conversation around identity, to increase the understanding and use of terms related to the gender spectrum, and to make Frontier Regional School a kinder, safer, and more welcoming community.

“HIT” Your Insecurities 
Young Women’s Leadership Academy // Fort Worth, Texas
These team members aim to transform student perceptions of their own flaws to help them see that there is beauty in every part of a person. To do so, they will fill piñatas with students’ written insecurities and then host events where students break these piñatas as a symbol of overcoming those insecurities.

Kindness Backpack Squad 
Roots International Academy // Oakland, California
This project addresses bullying and racism by empowering students to join the “Kindness Squad” as a way to show their commitment to changing their school community. Students who have demonstrated kindness will receive special backpacks that identify their membership in the Squad. These students are responsible for serving as allies to others and infusing kindness throughout the student body.

Spread Kindness BINGO Challenge
Dodge County High School // Eastman, Georgia
The goal of this project is to encourage the faculty, staff, and students at this school to intentionally seek out those who may feel undervalued or underappreciated and demonstrate kindness to those individuals. Students and teachers will be encouraged to complete a five-in-a-row BINGO challenge where each participant will choose five ways that they can spread kindness in their school and community.

Stamping Out Exclusion
The John Cooper School // The Woodlands, Texas
The Stamping Out Exclusion project will connect students who may not otherwise know one another by asking them to select one of ten different symbols and find a peer who made the same choice. From there, students will engage in structured conversations to get to know one another and bridge the divide between their social groups.

The Cycle of Kindness
George Washington Middle School // Dubuque, Iowa
Students on this team aim to empower their peers to perform and spot small acts of kindness. They will hand out Kindness Cards to students who do a kind act along with an explanation on how and when to pass their cards on. The goal is to encourage students to think before speaking and acting in ways that are unkind.

The Social Inclusion Project: SIP Talks 
Sacramento Waldorf School // Fair Oaks, California
Team members will tackle bystander syndrome at their school to help prevent students from watching, ignoring, and pretending not to see or hear sexual harassment, hate speech, and bullying. The project will gather data, build a program of response, train student facilitators, hold monthly small group discussions, and create an advertising campaign to develop a community of allies.

You Matter to Me 
Dorothy M. Wallace COPE Center // Miami, Florida
This project aims to show that every student matters by providing opportunities for individuals to write one sentence about each of their classmates to let them know one thing they admire about them. Each member of the community will receive a copy of their kindness sheet and the collection of sheets will be incorporated into the school’s yearbook as a commemoration of the project.

These finalists were chosen for the KIND Schools Challenge from 190 applications from 6th to 12th graders that came in from 28 states and Washington DC. Keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter for updates throughout the winter and spring!

Over the next few months, the finalist teams will be hard at work transforming their ideas into action!

Read more here.