Submitted by Rene Carroll
When it comes to kindness, we all know that words and actions make a difference. This is the primary focus of the Kindness Club, formed as a part of Jemtegaard Middle School’s Club 8 after-school activities.
“Our focus is about sharing kindness with others by creating small gift boxes filled with creative trinkets and uplifting notes,” explained club organizer and school parent, Kalle Fletcher. “We use our creativity to bring a smile to others in our community that might be struggling or could use a happy surprise.”
The club has made Kindness Boxes for Jemtegaard students, Clark County’s Teen Talk program, and the Salvation Army of Washougal to add to their food bags. “It is important that kids realize how much power their words and actions have on others,” Fletcher added. “They have the ability to change someone’s day and outlook, simply by being kind!”
Since the Covid outbreak, the club now meets via ZOOM each Wednesday. During that time, they chat about the creative works they have been doing and discuss the kindness project of the week. A Blog has been created for members, or anyone who wants to be included, that describes the club goals and project videos that the kids can do at home. www.mykindnessclub.com
Financial help has been provided by JMS Boosters, friends of the Fletcher’s, and support from Unite! Washougal Community Coalition. Their funds pay for supply kits to be created for Kindness Club students. “With these kits, the students essentially create tangible kindness to give away,” Fletcher explained. “We decided that for the remainder of this school year, rather than donating compassion boxes like we had been doing, the kids would make things at home and then pass their creations to those near to them, leaving a bit of kindness on the doorstep of a neighbor or someone that they think would enjoy the surprise.”
A recent project was made possible by a donation of material from the Washington State Pony of the Americas Club. On Monday, May 18, Fletcher and her daughters, Emerson and Elliot, delivered 162 bandanna face masks to the Knights of Pythias Active Retirement Center in downtown Vancouver. “The Kindness Club made all of them over a nine-day time span!” she said. “I was so impressed with how enthusiastically the kids responded to this project and their determination to complete them quickly so that the Pythias residents could use them.” The bandannas were donated to Jemtegaard Middle School for this purpose.
Marriott TownePlace Suites Vancouver asked the Kindness Club to make special signs with the names of each employee laid off due to the COVID outbreak. They thought it would be a special way of showing how much they care about and miss each person. The Kindness Club students felt honored to help. “It is exciting to see what the kids come up creatively and to see the joy they experience doing something wonderful for someone else,” Fletcher said.
“Obviously, the last couple of months have been a challenge for many; coping with illness, social distancing, online school, and everything,” Fletcher said. “This club has been a great outlet for the kids that want to continue to make a positive difference in their community and to focus on the good. That is the big take-away with our club; if you look for the good in something, you will find it. And it just might look a bit different than you expected!”
Looking beyond this school year and into next, it is Fletcher’s goal to continue the club, but won’t be able to do it without donations of craft supplies and finances. A “GoFundMe” account has been set up for: JMSKindnessClub or you can reach out to Kalle Fletcher at: email@example.com to receive the club’s supply wish list.