At the beginning of this school year Su Chafin, psychotherapist at Milford High School (MSD) Wellness Center, assisted students in creating the Students for a Million Acts of Kindness (SMAK) campaign. An effort that started as a way to proactively prevent bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month, the concept quickly grew into a movement at MHS as students took the initiative to make it a priority during the school day.
During a conversation about equality and compassion, Ms. Chafin dared a group of students that if they could do a million acts of kindness she would shave her head. Soon other MHS staff members joined the dare with even crazier antics, including spending the night on the school’s rooftops and kissing livestock.
“The program started small, but has become a student and staff crusade,” commented Ms. Chafin. “They are bringing together their community.”
Now the concept has grown to include over 350,000 documented acts of student kindness throughout the Milford School District. Beginning last October, the program has seen around 4,000 students involved in Milford School District, 1,000 of which are in the high school. With fifty SMAK ambassadors of all ages leading kind acts, both group and individual, students have created an embassy of kindness.
The vision of the program is to grow the character building activities that Milford students are already engaging in daily with other students. During the week of February 10, National Random Acts of Kindness Week, Milford students will be dedicating one day to Kindness and Compassion in as many schools in Delaware as they can. SMAK ambassadors are making small toolkits that will be sent across the state to other schools, designating that day as “You Matter Day”.
“Can you imagine one day where kids all through the state or further are saturated with the notion that they matter, just the way they are,” commented Ms. Chafin. “I want us all to continue our leadership and make a public stand for something good, something we as counselors and educators inherently know. That we all matter, all the time.”
Students and schools that are interested in joining Milford students during National Random Acts of Kindness Week are asked to email Su Chafin, Milford High School Wellness Center Therapist, at email@example.com . Participants are encouraged to contact Chafin soon so they can receive their toolkits before February 10. All acts of kindness during ‘You Matter Day’ will count towards MHS student’s goal to reach one million acts of kindness before the end of the year.
“My heart is touched daily by these kids. It breathes new life into my work. I am so grateful,” commented Chafin. “Some may think we cannot change the world. However, it is a good start and our students would really feel empowered to lead in this way.”