Students pay it forward

STU social work students will be performing acts of kindness this week (Nathan PatonAQ)

Mother Theresa once said “kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” This week STU echoes that sentiment with World Kindness Week. It runs from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20.

Amy Campbell, Samantha Molen and Christie MacInnis are three social work students who are offering their own helping hand for the week. This week they will be helping spread awareness and promotion of kind acts during students coordinated events, with the help of Susanna White, coordinator with the Greater Fredericton Social Innovation and the Fredericton Community Inclusion Network.

Campbell says random acts of kindness are vital. She remembers the time one of her friends bought her spaghetti from the cafeteria to cheer her up after a long day.

“[Kindness is] a reward in itself. I feel that kindness is contagious. I hope my act of kindness sparked her to do something for someone else. It’s like the movie Pay It Forward.”

Students and volunteers will spread awareness by performing acts of kindness around campus and the city on Nov 13. The movie Poor No More will be shown on Thursday at Brian Mulroney Hall Room 202. The movie explains what people can do to help those affected by the economic crisis in Canada.

“One time I was walking to campus from Sobeys on Prospect, and I eventually caught up with a woman carrying a few large bags of groceries. I asked her if she needed a hand carrying something. She graciously accepted and we walked together, and introduced ourselves,” Campbell said.

“Turns out she was a professor at UNB and was on a teaching exchange from Europe. It was so cool to meet her and hear her story. She was very appreciative of my help that day. It made me feel really good to know that I could help someone just a little bit.”

Although this is an international program that began with the World Kindness Movement in 1998, the students’ research of poverty in Fredericton was really the inspiration for this project.

“We researched and found that poverty is ‘hidden’ in Fredericton. It is so easy for people to get caught up in their own day to day lives that we forget that there are people living in our community that could use a helping hand,” Campbell said.

This will be the first year of celebrating Kindness Awareness Week at STU and although these three social workers are graduating, they hope that the tradition continues at STU.

“We also went to a few elementary schools promoting kindness. The kids pledged to perform various acts of kindness. If elementary school students can pledge to make the world a kinder place, then certainly the expectation is that staff and students can perform everyday acts of kindness,” Campbell said.

The students also videotaped the elementary school children asking them about their thoughts on kindness. This was made into an inspiring Youtube video.

“It is important to note that acts of kindness should not be random. Performing everyday acts of kindness I think has the potential to spark great positivity. Acts can be big or small. From holding a door for someone, putting extra change in the parking meter, to volunteering your time to help others.”

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