Kindness is more than just a word for Mary Buren Elementary School students in Guadalupe.
Every day, nearly 700 students are participating in the school's "Random Acts of Kindness" project that involves developing and taking action on ideas that help others during the holiday season.
The younger students write down the kind acts in a calendar, then on a paper heart that is posted in the school cafeteria. The older students are on the same page, though the acts also include famous quotes and actions. All acts form a paper chain around the campus eating establishment.
Teacher Maria Gonzalez believes the idea of "paying it forward" makes the school, community and world a better place.
"We want to promote the idea of giving to others and seeing the smiles on other people's faces,'' Gonzalez said. "When you do something for others, it makes you feel good.''
Students are finding kindness to be contagious. They have complimented their parents on appearance, given themselves hugs, helped another with math homework, tied shoes, made a Christmas ornament for a teacher and even shared a cookie.
Student Karla Martinez thinks the selfless and positive behavior is "pretty cool and like an act of friendship," while Lucely Contreras knows she is on the right track because "it makes me feel good inside doing something nice for others."
Student Lesaiah Garcia, who opened a trash can lid for someone whose hands were full, understands the idea of what goes around comes around.
"Maybe they'll turn around and do something nice for someone else,'' Garcia said.
— Kenny Klein is the media contact for the Guadalupe Union School District.