Brittnie Simpson, a third-grade teacher at Mattoon’s Riddle Elementary School, wanted her students to learn the importance of volunteerism and philanthropy. She also knew a fundraising project would teach students communication and planning skills. What she didn’t expect when she proposed the ‘Kindness Café’ concept was that her students would leap at the opportunity.
“The Kindness Café group developed the themes, but they wanted the entire school to be involved in deciding who would receive the funds. They also recognized that more students would participate if everyone helped choose the charity. It’s been a great way to spread cheer throughout the school and community,” Simpson explained.
The Kindness Cafe meets twice a week during their lunch to work on projects that spread kindness and positivity. The group, made up of nearly ten 4th & 5th grade students, selects a monthly activity, such as crazy hair day and mismatched clothes day. It is completely student led.
All Riddle Elementary School students are invited to participate in the themed day, as long as they donate a dollar to the monthly cause. Students voted for their favorite from nine charities. They also filmed an informational video about the themed day and proposed charity to bring awareness to the campaign beforehand.
In March, the students raised $178 and selected the SBL Regional Cancer Center to receive the donations. This particular project that raised money for the cancer center is just one of many they have done this year. Their motto is “Kindness isn’t about what you get, it’s about what you give.”
“We are so impressed by their initiative and generosity to help support our SBL Regional Cancer Center patients. They have passion for their project and are really learning what it’s like to practice philanthropy,” Kim Lockart, SBL special events officer, said.
The funds donated by Riddle Elementary School students will help those patients who struggle to pay for items associated with their care.
For more information about the SBL Regional Cancer Center, please call 217 258-2250. For more information about charitable giving to SBL, please call the SBL Foundation at 217 258-2511.