WILMINGTON ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, one third of the students who participated in their 2019 nationwide study, said they had bullied others at school.
The Frank R. Murray Community Center, St. Andrews School, and Safe Kids Savannah (Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah) are combining efforts to set a positive example for the new year.
What began as a fun activity at a St. Andrew’s summer camp, became a traveling, interactive exhibit for both kids and adults. Lea Lynch, a volunteer for St. Andrew’s School, and local Tybee Island artist Tiffany O’Brian created the Random Acts of Kindness exhibit to teach the value of spreading kindness to others.
O’Brian created a detailed backdrop for kids and adults to create tissue paper flowers with specific acts of kindness written on each stem. Lynch described the activity as “cathartic” and “peaceful” while creating an introspective opportunity for individuals to think about the nice things they could do for others.
Tracy Spain, a teacher for Effingham County Middle School, said bullying is something kids face every single day. She said it is hard for teachers to address bad behaviors in the way they would like. Teaching large classes, meeting academic expectations, and working with limited time; are all reasons Spain said makes being more than just a teacher for her students challenging.
“It’s heartbreaking. There’s only so much as a teacher you can do,” Spain said.
Lynch said she believes the community can unite to teach kids the importance of good behavior. She said kids can be receptive to concepts regardless of their age.
“We don’t give children enough credit. We think there are certain concepts that are above their head, but really I think that children even
as young as Magaret’s age, who’s three, can understand this idea of helping others and thinking about others instead of just thinking about yourself,” Lynch stated.
Spain described the impact a single action can have in a classroom as well as a community: “one positive thing leads to the next positive thing and it just grows.”
The traveling exhibit will be hosted at the Frank R. Murray Center through January. Jodi Moody, the center’s recreation supervisor, said she believes the event can have a ripple effect in the community.
“Anything that you can do, even if it’s just holding the door for someone, it will carry on and it will just encourage more positivity for all ages–especially with the children who are learning right now.
Even a simple little thing like this can go a long way,” Moody said.