Hiram Johnson senior forms Kindness Action Team at Bret Harte
Hiram Johnson High School senior Adriana Herrera knew she wanted to work with children and “teach them something,” for her Senior Project, a graduation requirement.
After meeting with staff from the Student Support Center at Bret Harte Elementary School, Herrera realized that she wanted to use her senior project as a way to spark the next generation of helpers, all while learning new skills such as group planning and facilitation, and public speaking.
Herrera worked with staff to pilot a brand new after-school club, the Kindness Action Team (KAT). Herrera and her project mentor, Bret Harte’s Student Support Center (SSC) coordinator, spent their weekends in November researching curriculum, designing group agendas and shopping for supplies. The SSC coordinator recruited a mix of fourth through sixth grade student representatives of the school’s diverse background and its social groups.
The KAT group met each Monday in December, during which Herrera taught lessons and led discussions on empathy. Students kept “empathy journals” and shared out the instances of kindness they witnessed on a daily basis.
The students and Herrera also planned a service project to practice empathy in action.
The project focused on collecting gifts and creating handmade greeting cards that were delivered to patients at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. On December 22, Herrera, her mentor and their Kindness Action Team students met with child life specialists at UC Davis to deliver the gifts and hear about how they will be used to benefit many children.
Although Herrera has fulfilled the requirements of her senior project, Bret Harte students have requested that the KAT group continue so they can plan additional “empathy projects.”