It’s back-to-school time! What a perfect opportunity to perform a few Random Acts of Kindness! In honor of teachers, schools & students, I celebrated the start of the new school year by completing the following acts of kindness..
1. Goodies for teachers. I don’t think anyone works harder than a teacher. They spend their days in a a small room with 25-30 kids, all with different skills, abilities and behaviors. They protect them, nurture them, and fill their heads with knowledge. The work they do impacts our children’s future success. It’s tough work. Their work days don’t end when the bell rings and our kids get on the bus. They still have tests to grade, lesson plans to prepare, and notes from parents to answer. They must do it because they love it, because they sure aren’t paid what they deserve. One hour trying to get one kid to finish his homework is enough to send me off to raid the liquor cabinet for some “mommy juice”. Twenty five kids? I can’t even imagine…
So my kids’ six teachers were the first beneficiary of my RAOK. I gathered goodies and put them in little buckets to deliver on the first day of school. We went in after the school day had ended and left the buckets in classrooms and hung them on the doorknobs. Most of the teachers were there so I got to enjoy a game of “ding dong ditch”. Super fun! Two of the teachers saw me in action, but I’m pretty confident they didn’t recognize me. Especially since I was so lightning fast. (I had the kids in tow, so that last comment is a bit of a stretch.) If you look at the photo, you should see the Tic-Tacs in the bucket. The three year-old noticed them right away. I caught him chomping away on a mouthful on the way to the school. It turns out that he actually does have lightning speed and ninja stealth when it comes to pilfering candy. Thank goodness I had extras.
2. Goody bags for the new kids in the neighborhood. We had a family move in across the street a week before school started. Of course they were a little anxious about moving to a new place and going to a new school. I wanted to do something for them to brighten their morning and hopefully distract them a tad from being nervous. We made up goody bags for each of the kids and left them on the porch for them to find in the morning before getting on the school bus. Surprise! It turns out that my new neighbors have super-sleuth detective skills. I received a text a few hours later thanking me for the goody bags. I can’t believe my cover was blown so early in our relationship.
3. Donate school supplies. I am blessed to have enough money to buy school supplies for my kids. I am also very blessed to have wonderful, kind friends who do inspiring acts of kindness and give me great ideas. A few weeks ago, my friend Mandy took her son back-to-school shopping and also purchased a backpack full of school supplies for a foster child. I knew I had to do something similar since we have foster children and other kids in need here where we live. Don’t we all? I purchased a variety of school supplies and took them into the guidance office at the middle school. I knew that the guidance counselors would be able to distribute them to the kids who really need them. They were very surprised and super excited when we dropped of the supplies. I could tell instantly that the supplies wouldn’t go to waste at all. You could almost hear them thinking in their heads who they should give them to. This is definitely a Random Act of Kindness that will be a back-to-school tradition for our family.
4. Donate Box Tops. If you have school age kids, you probably already collect box tops. I find myself rescuing them from the recycling bin when someone has committed the no-no of throwing one away. If you are not familiar with them, some brands such as Pillsbury, Ziploc, Betty Crocker and Cheerios (to name a few) have little coupons on the packaging worth cash to schools. Each Box Top is worth ten cents. It doesn’t seem like much, but they really do add up fast when everyone collects them. My son’s school raised over $3,500 s last year. I have been collecting all summer so I dropped off our stash while we were at the school. You don’t even have to have school aged kids to collect Box Tops. Most schools collect them and it’s fairly easy to find a school-aged kid nearby willing to take them off your hands on a regular basis.
5. Donate Coke Rewards. The lids on Coke products have a code on the inside that can be redeemed for prizes or rewards. Our local elementary school collects them so I have been saving those as well all summer. Since I no longer have a student at the elementary school, I gave mine to a neighbor who does.
6. Purchase from fundraisers. The kids were barely back in school five minutes and had already started fundraising. I purchased a coupon card for local restaurants to support the high school field hockey team. I also bought wrapping paper from the kids who came to my door selling items for the elementary school fundraiser. It’s a bit expensive, but it will save me a trip to Target. And let’s be honest, a roll of wrapping paper at Target would normally cost me $100 in other stuff that I don’t need. As for that coupon card, the boys will get a lot of use out of it. It will be a great excuse for them to stop for a snack at Subway after football practice.
7. Treats for the kids. I couldn’t forget my own kids on their first day of school! Especially since it was also Josh’s first day of middle school. I hid little treats in their lunch boxes and backpacks for them to find during the day. I wrote a little note wishing them a great day and tucked it in with one of the goodies.
8. Bake Treats. I will be busy baking cupcakes for the teachers’ lounge soon. Back to School Night is fast approaching and it seems like a good day to leave something yummy for the teachers. I’ll sugar them up before they have to deal with all of us parents asking obnoxious questions and telling them how wonderful our kids are.
9. Pay for a field trip. I also plan to “sponsor” a child when there are school field trips this year. Parents here usually have to pay a few dollars to help cover the cost of a field trip and some are unable to. It breaks my heart to think that some kids might miss an opportunity to go on a field trip because of three or four dollars. So every time there is a field trip, I will send in a few extra dollars to cover another child’s field trip expense.
Happy back to school time! Hopefully these little acts of kindness will make the start of school a little happier for a few people. If you have any great RAOK ideas or stories to share, I would love to hear them!