2012 Bezos Scholar Samantha Laney and educator Rachael Mott wanted to explore a positive, hands-on approach to helping kids to combat bullying and increase kindness among peers. They hosted an all-day event at Knox Trail Junior High School called The Ripple Effect.
The day started off with a flash mob followed by workshops facilitated by high school students encouraging middle school students to be kinder to one other by learning together. Students also participated in team-building exercises, and engaged in discussions on bullying and stereotypes, meant to encourage vulnerability in opening up to one another.
“There have been massive changes in attitude in the junior high students,” notes Samantha. “This can be seen in the random acts of kindness that are still occurring, such as, compliment notes on lockers and the continuous wearing of The Ripple Effect bracelets. I think the most significant impact to the junior high students, however, is the role models that they now look up to. They all can go to high school knowing that there are students, like the Ripple Effect team to help them.”