Kindness Month / First Community Breakfast
It is a breath of fresh air when students can take the lead and as the story of Joliette High School’s Kindness Month illustrates, opportunity for student voice flips a negative into a positive.
Ruby Emond, Lanaudiere Nord’s Community Development Agent tells the story of how Kindness Month got its start on a dreary, cold January afternoon. An inspiring conversation with Joliette High School’s Secondary 5 students about the school’s Anti-Bullying Anti-Violence Plan made it clear that there was a level of fatigue and desensitisation around the topic of bullying.
When the staff asked about a better way to approach the issue, the students proposed changing it up. Instead of anti-bullying, what if the emphasis was on promoting kindness and positivity to students, staff, and community? With this positive reframe, enthusiasm grew and Kindness Month was born!
In order to make Kindness Month a reality, The Kindness Committee which included members of Student Council, Secondary 5 students, WOTP students, and a few staff members jumped into action.
Students formed teams to create various activities. Some of the concrete activities that took place included the ideas of caring, sharing as seen in “Take What You Need, Give What You Can” and “The Kindness Tree”- growing positive messages for our community. These two activities in particular were local winners for secondary cycle 2 in the Osentreprendre Challenge.
The activities during Kindness Month raised awareness of the need to be kind to peers, friends, family, and community. We never know how badly someone needs a smile, a kind word, or a hug. Everyone was encouraged to “Pay it Forward” with simple actions.
On February 14th 2018, Joliette High School opened their doors and hearts to the extended community with a Community Breakfast for local community partners like ECOL, Cadets de Joliette, Canadian War Veterans, WOTP internship partners, Rawdon Rural Association, Women's Institute and neighbouring businesses. The breakfast was an opportunity for the students and partners to talk to one another and increase their sense of belonging to the school and the students they often serve. In total, there were 330 people in attendance.
As part of an ongoing Transition To High School program, the grade 6 students and their teachers from Rawdon Elementary and Joliette Elementary joined as well and were welcomed within their soon-to-be community.
Sandra Maluorni, staff assistant, stated, “Kindness, Compassion & Community Month was an opportunity for the entire JHS community to come together to celebrate and highlight the values that really define who we are as a school.”
The majority of students set the example for those not on board. Emphasis was placed on school-wide positivity and not on the negative actions of a few bullies. Growing a sense of school community is essential given the reality that Joliette High School serves 46 different municipalities and 99% of students are bused in, with some traveling for 2-3 hrs/day.
There was a wonderful sense of accomplishment for Kindness Committee members; for their creativity, initiative and leadership skills. Seeing the results of their efforts and perseverance throughout the month as they faced the challenge of motivating students. The number of messages and activity participation was 50% more than expected. Students witnessed the impact of caring and realized that kindness given, is returned.
Principal Vicky Perreault summed it up best, “It was wonderful to see everyone’s efforts and passion for kindness come together for the Community Breakfast. Saying thank you to our special guests for their continued support in all of our ventures and being able to see the students come together in support of one another was most precious to witness. This was a unique and hopefully a repeat activity.”
Joliette High School
Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board
The Lanaudière CLC is a multi-site CLC managed by a single Community Development Agent
Address: 107 Rue de Lorimier, Joliette, QC J6E 6E8
Telephone (to contact Community Development Agent): 450-755-1556 #8133
Community Development Agent: Ruby Emond
Part of the Lanaudière CLC since 2015
Program: Sec 1 - Sec 5
Geographic Region: Lanaudière
Joliette High School