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Kicking off the School Year with Kindness

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Back in June, Scheels Overland Park posted on their Facebook page that they wanted the public to nominate their favorite local non-profit. This was part of their Overland Park Community Campaign. Scheels was going to give away a total of $10,000 to local non-profits to help continue strengthening our community.

Well, we were THRILLED to find out in July that KindCraft was the very first $1,000 recipient of this campaign! Nine other local non-profits each received $1000 from Scheels Overland Park. We were honored to be nominated and chosen for this grant. Our non-profit operates solely on the donations from our community, so needless to say, we were so thankful for this donation.

As talks of going back to school became a more common topic discussed by families, we decided one way to strengthen our community was by showing our appreciation for teachers and staff. One of our goals at KindCraft is to help children develop empathy and compassion for others. We wanted families to discuss how much they appreciate teachers, especially during this pandemic where they are so many unknowns. We decided that since teachers would be wearing masks all day long while teachers, a mask lanyard might be helpful. Rather than putting their mask down when safe opportunities to remove their masks came about, they could just let it hang on down on their chest with the lanyard. This project was chosen because it was a hands-on way for kids and families to show their appreciation and MANY could be involved!

KindCraft asked for Project Coordinators to volunteer to lead their school community in making lanyards for EVERY staff person at their school. It was important to KindCraft to make sure each school's staff member received a lanyard. We had several Project Coordinators volunteer for schools in Olathe, Overland Park, and Spring Hill. Ordering supplies for so many schools was an overwhelming task! We needed cord, small beads, medium size beads, letter beads, heart beads lobster claws, crimp beads, and cord. Amazon delivered to KindCraft daily for at least a month :).

Once all of the materials arrived and were sorted, Project Coordinators asked for volunteers from their school to help. Some Project Coordinators hosted a backyard get together and they made the lanyards as a large group. Others coordinators, had families pick up a baggie of presorted materials with enough supplies to make 5 lanyards. Once lanyards were completed, they were returned to the Project Coordinators.

We asked the Project Coordinators to give us some feedback on what the kids thought of the project. We learned that the kids enjoyed making each lanyard with a different pattern. Some KindCraft kids said making the lanyards was relaxing. Kids from Sunnyside Elementary school said they loved knowing the lanyards were going to teachers from their school. It made the project more meaningful for them. Overall, the kids seemed to really enjoy making the lanyards and felt good about themselves for doing something kind for their teachers.

Parents also enjoyed the project and felt like it was a nice chance to sit down as a family and focus on something fun to give to someone else. Many parents were eager to help and liked having a way to give back to the community safely from home. As you can see from these adorable smiles, these kids were VERY proud of their work!!

It was fun for us to see all of the creativity that went into the lanyards. Many schools chose to do their school colors for school spirit! Some chose specific patterns, others chose more of a random style. All lanyards had the phrase "Be Kind" and a KindCraft heart. Many families chose to write a kind note as well. All lanyards were were packaged in a small, individually wrapped gift bag.

As local schools started to open, the Project Coordinators dropped off their lanyards. They brought a smile to many teachers and we received many notes of appreciation. Thank you so much Scheels Overland Park for providing us with an opportunity to teach children about the importance of showing appreciation to others.

What a great way to "kick" off the school year!

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