Students at Carlisle Elementary School have been writing letters and notes to Texas children to help lift their spirits following last month’s winter storm.
The project was led by Carlisle counselor Marie Weller, who said she got the idea on a social media group for other elementary school counselors.
“A colleague from another state initiated the idea of sending kindness messages to elementary schools in Texas, which was met with great enthusiasm from school counselors in Texas,” Weller said. “When I expressed interest in participating, two elementary schools counselors, one from Arlington, Texas, and another from Plano, Texas, sent me their contact information.”
Weller said the project was called “Spread Kindness Like Confetti from Ohio to Texas,” and students began by learning where Ohio and Texas were on the map of the United States. Once they located Texas, Weller told students about why the Texas students needed kindness.
“We talked about the unusual snowstorm they had, and how many families lost power and water for several days,” Weller said. “While we can’t solve their problems, we can send messages to let them know we are thinking of them and wishing them well.”
Weller worked on the project with Carlisle art teacher Jessica Brechbuhler.
“Marie came to me with the desire to create a banner from our students to the students in Texas,” Brechbuhler said. “I was happy to help. I created the banner by drawing the continental United States, emphasizing Texas and Ohio. Then, the students took over the creation.”
Brechbuhler said during the project they discussed with students what their lives would be like if they went through hardships like the ones the children in Texas went through.
“I was happy to be involved in this project as I feel very strongly about the power of compassion,” Brechbuhler said. “Simply knowing someone, even if you do not know them, is thinking about you and sending good thoughts your way can make a hard day feel better. Art is a universal language, and being so, allows my students in Ohio to communicate with other students anywhere in this world.”
Brechbuhler said she’s hopeful students learned about compassion through the project.
“My hope from this experience is that students will remember they are part of a larger network and to think about others,” she said. “Even if we don’t know their names or are not experiencing the same circumstances, people are people, and we all deserve compassion. I also hope students feel good knowing they are doing something to spread kindness to others.”
Weller said the project fit nicely within the school’s motto of “Be Kind, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be a Leader … Today and Every Day!”
“This project gave us an authentic opportunity to spread kindness beyond our community,” Weller said. “We have great students at Carlisle, and the caring that shines through their messages makes my heart proud.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.