Promote Kindness in Your School and Community and Make a Difference
By Meghan Fay, Assistant Editor

As senseless acts of violence plague the nation it is increasingly difficult to find examples of mainstream media highlighting positive interactions. However, parents, teachers, students and communities searching for ways to spread the message of community should look no further than the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, whose mission it is to provide inspiration, leadership, practical materials and programmatic support to the rapidly growing kindness movement around the world. Those involved with the mission not only see this as a way to spread a positive message, but as a proactive stance against negative interactions. 

The Kindness Movement was sparked by Anne Herbert’s phrase “Practice random kindness and acts of senseless beauty” and has grown internationally, spreading through classrooms, churches, hospitals, businesses, municipalities and service clubs. Established as a non-profit organization in 1995, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a resource for thousands of people committed to spreading kindness throughout the world. The organization creates and distributes information and educational materials about both the movement and its annual celebration of kindness. They recruit, train and assist volunteer Community Coordinators and counsel individuals, groups and institutions to help them design effective and ongoing kindness activities. Random Acts of Kindness clubs are just one example of how students are taking initiative to spread the foundation’s message of kindness nationwide.

“The power of kindness is something we really believe in,” said Barbara Gates, National Coordinator for the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. “ I think kindness is a way each of us can have an impact in the people around us.”

The foundation believes that practicing kindness everyday profoundly affects human interactions, reminds people that everyone is intricately and beautifully connected and ultimately makes this a kinder world. The following are examples of RAK in Action:

The South Avenue block club in Wilkinsburg, PA held a Random Acts of Kindness Youth Appreciation Day. Adults and young people planted flowers and then held a big block party. Music, face painting, hot dogs and games made for a real success. Young people were acknowledged for their contribution to the life of the neighborhood and were presented with certificates of appreciation.

The Random Acts of Kindness Group at the Boys and Girls Club in Wilkinsburg, PA spent several weeks before the holiday season making cards for senior citizens. They visited senior centers offering the gift of their company and left their senior companions with personalized cards and holiday decorations. Their activity was repeated for Valentine’s Day.

To promote the power and importance of kindness the foundation assists teachers in incorporating kindness into the curriculum and assists schools in starting RAK Clubs.

According to Gates, the main thing that drives the RAK Foundation is the power of kindness. Usually, when people think of power they think of military might, but the power of kindness is something everyone possesses. She finds it amazing how much of an impact acts of kindness have on people. According to Gates, the act becomes a long lasting memory for the receiver of the kindness. “The power of kindness is something we really believe in,” she said. 

In addition, Gates believes that kindness helps to create and enhance community. In large cities, such as Denver where the foundation is headquartered, people don’t always have quality interactions and connections. “Through kindness we can create that interaction,” she said. 

How to Start a Random Acts of Kindness Club at Your School

With the unfortunate school violence incidents that seem to continue across the country, encouraging random acts of kindness can be a proactive stance towards tolerance and acceptance of all students.

For students who want to start a RAK club they should:

1. Gather a few students who are interested in starting a RAK club with you.
2. Talk to the school’s activity director or the principal or vice principal about what steps need to be taken to officially start your RAK Club. There may be special school requirements or specific people that you need to talk to before you can start a club.
3. Find a teacher or school administrator who is willing to act as the club’s advisor. An advisor is essential to help keep you on the right track and to help you when you get stuck.

For teachers who want to initiate a RAK Club they should:

1. They should start within their own classroom. Start talking to your students about Random Acts of Kindness and perhaps give the students an assignment, which focuses on performing an act of kindness and writing about it.
2. Gather interest from your students who may want to be involved in a club and help them get on their way. The initial group of students forming the club should have a brainstorming session to see what people are interested in, what motivates their fellow students and how the RAK Club will best reach out to your school and community.

Each RAK Club should develop a set of goals and ideas that will assist its members in the first weeks of the club’s existence. Allow these goals and ideas to change and develop and evolve over time as the club becomes more organized and the membership grows. The following are sample mission statements from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation:

  • To constantly remind every person in our school to commit at least one Random Act of Kindness every day.
  • To build self-esteem and raise school morale by showing every person at our school that he or she really can make a difference
  • To prove to our students that we can all be an active part of the solution, rather than part of the problems manifested by gang membership, drugs, crime, hopelessness and individual and group isolation.
  • To bring everyone at our school together in a cooperative, loving way and to teach and remind everyone to look for the good in people and praise it – all the time!
The “not so random” planned events are to promote awareness in the school like advertising the time and date of the RAK Club meeting. The following are a list of inspirational quotes and slogans that the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation suggests students’ use on posters, fliers, bulletin boards, newsletters, etc. to promote the club.
  • Of all things you wear, your smile is most important.
  • It takes 17 muscles to smile and 47 muscles to frown. Conserve energy.
  • Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
  • Never give up on anybody … Miracles happen everyday.
  • Smile a lot. It costs nothing and is beyond price.
  • Leave everything a little better then when you found it.
  • Kindness makes people feel better.
  • Kindness is a gift you give to others.
  • Spread kindness to everyone you meet.
  • Kindness begins like a ripple of water.
  • Make friends with kindness.
  • Kindness makes your heart glow!
  • Kindness is helping someone who doesn’t have a friend.
  • Kindness is caring and sharing when someone is in trouble.
  • Imagine … a world filled with kindness!
The foundation is interested in hearing about the activities that club’s plan. They suggest that each club include RAK Week as one of the club’s primary projects. RAK Week is an annual global awareness campaign and celebration of the power of random acts of kindness as a counterbalance to random acts of violence. Coordinated and supported by the RAK Foundation, participants in the first RAK Week included over 140 communities in North America. Each year since 1995, the RAK Week celebration has nearly doubled in size, with over 450 communities and thousands of schools and service organizations participating in 1999. The sixth annual RAK Week on November 6 through 13, 2000 will coincide with the first annual World Kindness Day on November 13, 2000. World Kindness day represents the pledges of the USA, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Thailand and England to join together to build a kinder and more compassionate world and to promote and acknowledge kindness as a central component of every human culture. “Kindness brings out the best in our humanity,” said Gates.

How to Incorporate Kindness in the Classroom Curriculum

With students displaying more aggression in the classroom setting, the RAK Foundation has developed a teachers guide for educators are interested in teaching the concept of kindness in classrooms. The Second Edition Teacher’s Guide, available for free through the RAK Foundation, includes new concepts and philosophies for teaching RAK; new ideas for teachers and students it implement hands-on kindness within their classroom, school and out in the community; and additional resources for teachers to expand their RAK curriculum.

In Gates opinion, the need for kindness is more crucial than ever. With the rise of technology the world is becoming increasingly information oriented and people are losing contact with one another. “The importance of it cannot be overstated,” she said. “We need to foster community and kindness does that.”

Barbara Gates, National Coordinator for the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, 800.660.2811 ext. 12 –

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, 1801 Broadway, Suite 250, Denver, CO 80202, telephone 800.660.2811 or 303.297.1964, fax 303.297.2919, email,
159 Burgin Parkway | Quincy, MA 02169
617-471-4445 | Fax 617-770-3339