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Life Lessons

Life Lessons: The Great Kindness Challenge

Life Lessons: The Great Kindness Challenge

War, murder, racism, how does the madness end? Some say it's by teaching our children one thing.

And that one thing is now part of a grassroots effort that is going global.

These young women are just a handful of the two million students worldwide who have made the promise.

They know the pledge.

Sixteen-year-old Hana says, "I pledge to use my words to speak in a kind way."

Twelve-year-old Lenay says, "I pledge to help others as I go throughout my day."

Ten-year-old Jessica says, "I pledge to do my part and create peace for one and all."

And hope to change the world, through kindness.

Jill McManigal, co-founder and executive director of Kids for Peace, explains:

"I hope they can create the world they want to grow up in."

That's why McManigal, a former school teacher and mother of two, started the non-profit Kids for Peace.

"I know about the wisdom of children and so I just wanted to give kids a platform to be the peace builders that I believe they all are," says McManigal.

From a couple of kids in her backyard coming up with simple ways to make a difference in their community, to being invited to speak at the United Nations, these kids are on a mission.

Lenay says, "I get to go around and put smiles on people's faces and make them feel good about themselves."

Now they want to challenge you to do the same thing.

For one week, they are asking students to do as many things on this list as they can.

Hana says, "Smile at 25 people because it's such a small thing but can make such a big difference."

Lenay says, "I'm going to put hearts on cars. I am going to go feed the homeless."

Fourteen-year-old Mira says, "I always like baking cookies and delivering them to firefighters."

Eight-year-old Sienna says, "I want to slip a note in someone's backpack."

"I think its two hugs for everybody," says 5-year-old Grace.

Alex Hall is an intern for Kids for Peace and knows each small act can make a difference.

"I was new. I moved to California two years ago and I know how it feels to have someone just talk to you and be nice to you," says Hall.

In three years, the Great Kindness Challenge has grown from three schools to 1,099 and last year those kids all together performed 27,742,300 acts of kindness.

That number is expected to grow to more than 100 million acts of kindness this year!

McManigal says, "The kids are performing kind act after kind act after kind act and that makes kindness a habit and as kindness becomes a habit, that makes peace possible."

The Great Kindness Challenge runs from January 26th to January 30th. Your school can sign up for free and get all the information at www.greatkindnesschallenge.org. Go ahead, try it, you might just end up changing the world.

Kids for Peace started in 2006. Currently the organization is in 36 countries, including Iraq, Pakistan, India and Australia. A

Among other things, they donate and gather supplies for Ebola health care workers in Liberia, and gather supplies for schools in Kenya.

Their goal is to be in all 140,000 US schools and every country by 2020.


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