Acts of kindness

Meyersdale Area School District  |  Posted on

Every day, in December, MAHS students have had a chance to accept a holiday challenge to perform a small act of kindness. Students have participated with gusto and a group recently assisted with shopping for the Sheetz Family Christmas program.

Greek storyteller Aesop once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” That heartfelt adage has been celebrated this month by several Meyersdale Area High School (MAHS) students.

MAHS School Counselor Cassie Arnold began a special holiday “challenge program” several years ago and the “small acts” it has inspired are truly changing lives.

“I have a different challenge every day we are in school during the month of December. I select random days to reward students with ‘completing’ the challenge once they provide proof,” she explained. “Some of the challenges include doing a chore you don’t normally do, volunteering your time, sending a Christmas card to a family member or friend, thanking a front line worker, smiling at a stranger, holding the door for a stranger, posting something inspirational on social media.”

One recent challenge was to volunteer your time. Zoe Hetz, Gracie Paulman and Laurel Daniels were among those who accepted the challenge and spent a day last week shopping for area families in need with the annual Sheetz Family Christmas Program.

Hetz said shopping for this program was more rewarding than she had ever imagined.

“We were given papers that included the child’s name, age, hobbies, interests and clothing sizes. The paper also had boxes checked off on what the child was in need of or wants for Christmas. Each child’s gifts went into individual shopping carts and there was a limit of $200 per child. After completing the list and picking out items up to $200 we were able to get a new paper and shop for more kids until all the papers were completed,” Hetz explained. “It was so much fun.”

Daniels echoed those sentiments, “It warmed my heart to shop for the kids! I never heard about Sheetz doing this before, and I’m grateful that I was able to help out with such a great cause!”

Each child received gifts based on their individual likes and dislikes and the holiday shoppers worked hard to ensure each child received items they are sure to love.

“We were given a paper with the child’s name, gender, list of necessities, and just some other information about them, what toys they wanted, their favorite color, and what activities they were involved in,” Paulman explained. “It was so much fun.”

Arnold said this program has generated many smiles and the enthusiasm she has witnessed from participants is inspiring and affirming.

“I enjoy sharing these small acts of kindness with our students. Life is busy for them, for everyone, and these are things they can do to share kindness with others that require very little effort and time on their part,” Arnold added. “I hope these challenges encourage them to open their hearts and spread kindness to others not just at Christmas, but all year long. A simple smile can change someone’s entire day.”