June 10, 2021 —When Swift Middle School, located in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, decided to embark on Kindness Day, they never thought residents of the Crosslands skilled nursing home (part of Kendal~Crosslands Communities) located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, would be so appreciative. A caring gesture made by the eighth-grade class has a lasting, positive impact on the residents and staff members in the community.
The school’s Guidance Counselor pioneered Kindness Day to break from regular and customary school curriculum and think of something nice to do for someone else. So, in March, the Counselor asked the school teaching staff to think of kindness acts their students could do that would make someone else feel better.
When communicating Kindness Day to her students, Emily Mankin, the eighth-grade teacher at Swift Middle School, had only a couple of thoughts in mind – springtime and her two aunts who live in a nursing home. That’s when Riley Riddell raised his hand and mentioned his mom, Renee Riddell works in the Crosslands skilled nursing home. Riley explained the residents miss visiting their families and friends like they once did before the pandemic, and it might be nice to do something for them to brighten their day.
All 100 eighth-grade students quickly got to work and created posters for each of the residents who live at the Crosslands skilled nursing home called Firbank Households. Forty-five posters were made and each one is colorful, cheerful, personalized, and made with love. Some have inspirational and uplifting quotes such as “hang in there, stay positive, someone is thinking of you.” “They are absolutely spectacular, says Cathy Emig, Crosslands Health Center Administrator.” “The residents love them!” says Emig.
Riley and his buddies made sure no resident was forgotten, and they pitched in to ensure that posters were made for everyone. Even the staff members are enjoying the creativity and beauty. They quickly point to their favorites and are inspired by the student’s kindness.
When you ask Crosslands Resident Lu what she thinks about her poster, she’ll tell you, “they are ingenious and lovely to look at all day long.” Letters of appreciation, written by the residents came back to the students. Thoughts such as “you made my day or your kindness is wonderful” wrote one resident. The students were thrilled to receive the notes, and the connectivity was complete.
Kindness day at Swift Middle School indeed did promote empathy and compassion, which led to a sense of interconnectedness with others. The residents at Kendal~Crosslands Communities are united now, with 100 eighth-grade students with an act of kindness that will last a lifetime.