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  • The Kindness Challenge is Issued at One Middle and Three Elementary Schools

    The Kindness Challenge is Issued at One
    Middle and Three Elementary Schools
    The discussion presented to Bullitt Lick Middle School Teacher Tonie Weddle and her
    Kindness Crew was different than the one Julie Kelly (www.julieckelly.org) gave at the
    elementary school level.
    When visiting Nichols, Shepherdsville and Roby Elementary Schools, Kelly of
    ThinkKindness.org interacted with fun and games. She played some trivia and showed a
    video that were both appealing and thought-provoking.
    Her tone was more serious with middle school students, including a personal note about
    overcoming obstacles.
    Pointing to the remains of her wrecked company car, Kelly informed students she did
    not allow almost getting killed by a drunk driver define her life.
    “My coworkers and I were out celebrating and I was the designated driver,” Kelly said.
    “Little did I know how much my life would change in an instant.”
    Although no one was killed in the crash, life is different.
    Eight months of rehab and recovery were accompanied by Kelly’s determination to turn
    a near tragedy into something positive. This is the main message she gave students. Never
    allow the challenges of your life to define you, instead be proactive and turn your life
    around.
    The native of Australia became a biologist and applied and was accepted at the
    California Institute of Technology before becoming a speaker with ThinkKindness. She
    now gives hundreds of presentations annually at schools around the country.

    Everywhere she speaks, Kelly challenges students and staff to be kind in their words
    and deeds.
    “Think before you speak, do or post anything online,” she said. “Be encouraging to
    others. Compliment someone on their abilities and skills. This should be your daily mindset
    for the rest of your lives.”
    Wearing a white T-Shirt with the words Love Wins, Kelly repeated the Golden Rule at
    each of her talks...Treat Others as You Wish to be Treated. Making the point that kindness
    is a simple concept, but needs to be practiced daily.
    “Turn to your teacher and let them know they are the greatest in the world,” Kelly cited.
    “Tell your friends how special their friendship is to you. Let your school bus driver know
    you are thankful for their safe driving. When you get home, help your parents with dinner,
    take out the trash, and help your uncle wash the car on the weekend or volunteer to shovel
    snow. If you like playing video games, offer to share a controller with a sibling.”
    Specifically, she challenged schools to compete for the title of Kindest School in
    America and tasked them with documenting 5,000 acts of kindness by Feb. 15.
    A bit more elaborate is the sneaker challenge.
    Kelly and her ThinkKindness group have visited African villages where students are not
    allowed to attend school barefoot.
    At each school, she asks students to donate gently worn sneakers, tennis shoes or
    running shoes that will be transported to Africa.
    She urged students these tennis shoes do not need to be brand new.
    “Please understand that I do not want you to go home and tell your parents we need to
    go out a buy a new pair of sneakers,” Kelly said. “We are looking for an old, gently used
    pair of sneakers that are lying around your house, that you may have outgrown, that you
    don’t wear anymore. This simple act of kindness will make a world of difference for a child
    in Africa.”
    During her stop at Nichols Elementary, Kelly was astonished when a student gave a pair
    of tennis shoes to her teacher during the assembly.
    “This has honestly never happened before,” she smiled. “I believe in the kindness and
    greatness of the students, teachers, staff and parents of Bullitt County.”

    Bullitt County Public Schools has over 13,100 students in grades preschool through 12.
    There are 25 school facilities, a certified staff of over 900 and a classified staff of over 800
    working to make the district the leader in educational excellence.