Kids showing kindness: FUMC kindergarten thanks community with 'Random Acts of Kindness'
by Emily Adams
SYLACAUGA – The 5-year-old kindergarten class at First United Methodist Church is learning that it truly is better to give than receive.

Since August, the group of 21 students has taken a monthly outing to visit and thank an organization that provides a vital community service. This month’s “Random Act of Kindness” was a trip to Coosa Valley Medical Center’s Emergency Department on Thursday morning, where students presented hospital staff with bright red balloons and a basket of snacks.

“We are honored that they thought of us,” said nurse Tina Brooks. “We will probably decorate our desk with the balloons to help cheer up patients, and the snacks are good because they are all things we can grab easily while we’re working, so they really just made our day.”

In return, the students got a tour of the emergency department and learned about what goes on there. The hospital also gave each student a goody bag to show them that when you are kind to others, you get something back as well. CVMC Chief Operating and Nursing Officer Amy Price, whose 6-year-old daughter Catherine is in the class, said hospital staff was thrilled when they were selected for this month’s act of kindness.

“You would not believe the excitement in the ER when we told them,” Price said. “You think about what a nurse does in an average day, how many lives they touch and how many families they interact with, and then what it means for them to be recognized from the community as making a difference.”

The class has performed these acts for the Mayor’s Office, Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, ambulance service, FUMC church staff and others. Parents are asked to provide the treats and then students contribute a different item, like the balloons or drawings they made for policemen.

Teachers Gerita Meade and Jeanna Jacks said they started the project to teach students to appreciate what is done for them.

“I saw the idea on a teacher’s blog, and I thought it would be a great way to give back to the city that does so much for us,” Meade said. “A lot of it, like the people at the ambulance service, is people you don’t always think of saying ‘thank you’ to, and its people that work so hard for us, and we kind of forget about them and take it for granted.”

Price said the visits are accomplishing their goal of spreading gratitude among both students and community members.

“From a parent’s point of view, they are teaching our kids to give back to the community, and that’s really important and part of our responsibility,” Price said. “Children get so much given to them, for the most part, but it’s important for them to learn to give back and also to learn who the pillars of the community are. It’s our service departments like police, fire, ambulance and hospitals.”

Meade said future visits may include the Post Office, library and Blue Bell, among other places.

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© 2013