At Random Acts, we truly believe we can conquer the world one random act of kindness at a time. We also believe those acts can be large or small, and that the possibilities are endless. Our Class Act program seeks to encourage young people to focus on kindness and help take care of one another. To that end, we offer a yearly financial reward to a school or student-led organization which takes the task of spreading kindness to heart in a meaningful way.
This year, we heard about some wonderful acts from all over the world. Students redecorated the hallways and the teachers’ lounge in their school to help create a more vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. They created wacky works of art and encouraged their fellow students to break out of the mold and be themselves. They honored fellow students lost to illness, and celebrated lives cut short by violence. They raised hundreds and thousands of dollars to give to charities in their community which tackled issues that mattered to them. The common thread among all the projects was celebrating kindness and spreading hope. But one school program really stood out to us, which is why we chose them as our 2019 Class Act winner:
The Chesed Clubs at Vancouver Talmud Torah in Vancouver, Canada!
Vancouver Talmud Torah is a Jewish community day school serving students from preschool to grade 7. As part of their daily life, VTT runs a number of Chesed Clubs (in Hebrew, chesed roughly translates to kindness, or loving-kindness) in which many students participate. Over the course of a year, Chesed Club students across three grade levels accomplished some amazing acts of kindness
Chesed Club students sold flowers and concessions during their school play to raise money for Tim, a fellow student who is visually impaired, to go to space summer camp. Thanks to their fundraising efforts, Tim took the aviation program at the camp as he wants to become a pilot, and it had been a dream of his to attend this aviation camp specially geared toward people with visual impairments.
Inspired by Gia Tran, they held a bottle drive at the school in order to support her efforts. At the end of the bottle drive, they invited Ms. Tran to the school to present her with their contribution which will also go to the Cancer Foundation.
Restoring Faith and Hope in Humanity
Grade 7 students at VTT prepared over 500 lunches and delivered them to people experiencing homelessness in downtown Vancouver. Their “Food For Your Thoughts” program offered an opportunity for two-way giving, with students distributing food in exchange for hearing life stories from the people they met. The purpose was to restore a sense of dignity and faith in humanity. It was important for them that those they met with felt valued as people, with something tangible to give while also receiving.
Giving Inner City Kids a Good Head Start
Last summer, grade 6 students gifted 63 first graders in local inner-city schools with backpacks filled with school supplies in order to get their new school year off to a good start. They included personal letters encouraging them on their educational path. This was also to honor the 63 graduates of VTT, in thanksgiving for their education.
The following fall, they raised funds to provide educational opportunities for students in Kenya. They held assemblies to raise awareness, and took a vow of silence in solidarity with children who cannot speak up for themselves. With the community’s support, and working with the WE Foundation, they raised enough funds to send 72 children to school.
Feeding the Hungry from All Religions
Students in Chesed Club commit to a number of acts involving food insecurity. They hold monthly food drives and volunteer twice a month at the local Jewish food bank. Last December they organized a separate drive for the Foster Nation, an agency that supports youth in foster and government care. Students prepared care packages with food and treats in celebration of the Christmas season. And last spring, they held a school-wide food drive for the local Muslim Food Bank in honor of Ramadan. In preparation, students visited classes and learned more about the Ramadan holiday. They prepared 100 packaged meals for 100 Muslim families in need.
Congratulations to Vancouver Talmud Torah! We are simply blown away by the variety of kind acts you’ve shared in your community. We wish you and your Chesed Clubs all the best in your future kindness endeavors.
Is It Your Turn?
With the start of a new school year comes the opportunity to put together your own kindness action plan in your school. Students, teachers, and parents can work together to do random acts of kindness all through the school year. Then apply in next year’s Class Act for a chance to win a financial award for your school! You can read more about the Class Act award program on our blog.