Changing the world one random act of kindness at a time.


For some students, buying new supplies before the school year starts is a fun practice. It can be an exciting and motivating experience for students of all ages. Melissa Kettell, a student at the University of Southern Maine (USM), wanted to give students in Ashton, South Africa the same encouragement.

School Supplies for Students

Five people stand behind a desk that has bags full of school supplies on it.Melissa is an officer for the Student Chapter of Random Acts at USM. The chapter held a fundraiser to purchase school supplies and food for families in Ashton and Montagu, South Africa. With additional funding provided by Random Acts, they donated 60 food bundles to the communities and school supplies for over 300 students, grades 10 through 12. “I chose to focus on the older grades because, in South Africa, kids are only required to go to school until the 9th grade,” Melissa noted. “This contributes to a low graduation rate. To reward and as an incentive to the kids that decide to stay in school, I provided school supplies to the high school students.” This act was particularly meaningful to Melissa who partook in a study abroad program in South Africa.

Delivery from Afar

Students pose happily at their school desks, arms outstretched, holding their new school suppliesDue to Covid restrictions, Melissa was unable to travel to South Africa to perform the act in person. She instead worked with another USM student in South Africa who helped purchase and deliver the supplies. He also offered insight into the particular needs of the students and families.

When asked about completing the act Melissa said, “it showed that we care about their success in school, and having the tools needed will allow them to pass the tests they need to in order to graduate.” She also shared, “I was happy to be able to help in this way. It was great to receive pictures of the supplies purchased and know how much it will help them.” She also received a letter from the school’s principal, expressing gratitude for the supplies.

Feeling Inspired?

If you would like to connect with Random Acts, Regional Representatives would love to help you find similar opportunities in your community. As always, thank you for supporting our mission to spread kindness and compassion!