In Los Angeles, California, a year spent learning about the power of kindness has paid off for a class of kindergartners at Hancock Park Elementary.
For many students in America, the Spring 2020 semester started off like any other. Christine Choi’s class of five and six-year-olds was no exception. They were tasked with raising money for a number of field trips planned for the latter half of the semester. But when COVID-19 began to spread in early March in the U.S, many schools made the difficult decision to suspend in-person classes after Spring Break, canceling group activities, including the field trips.
Undeterred, Choi moved her classes online and worked to continue teaching her youngsters about the heightened importance of empathy and goodheartedness in trying times.
“We have continued our discussions about sharing our kindness with the world,” Choi wrote in an email to GetUsPPE. “The brave and tireless work of the doctors, nurses, and health care workers who are keeping us safe has been an enormous, real-life example of kindness for my students.”
Following this example of selflessness, Choi and her students considered the money they’d raised for the now-canceled field trips. “The students were so disappointed, but this has been a great opportunity to turn a disappointment into something meaningful,” wrote Choi.
At their teacher’s request, the students democratically voted on potential uses for the funds. “I suggested to my students that we donate the money to your organization to say thank you for your services,” Choi wrote, “And they all agreed!”
GetUsPPE relies on individual donations and partnerships to advocate for large-scale manufacturing of medical PPE nationwide, to unite the maker community by providing the means to assemble and distribute PPE locally, and to help its regional affiliates facilitate safe and efficient delivery of supplies to local hospitals. Donations like those from Hancock Elementary’s kindergarten class are helping GetUsPPE provide for healthcare workers across the country.
Before lockdowns went into effect, Choi’s students made “kindness capes” to illustrate the superhuman power of kindness. They later crafted individual signs, many accompanied by rainbows and hearts, forming a photo collage with the message, “Thank you doctors, nurses, and health care workers for keeping us healthy. We are safe because of you. You are our heroes. We love you!”
Choi hopes to get the message out to as many healthcare workers as possible to show her students that gratitude can be mutually encouraging—for both giver and receiver.
“I hope that this will be a powerful experience for my students who are learning to be kind,” wrote Choi.
By Stephanie Zeller, a science writer, artist, and data visualization researcher based in Austin, Texas