NBC26 Cares: Random Acts of Kindness
What would you do if a stranger did something nice for you out of the blue? Some Green Bay Southwest High School students, with the marketing group Deca, recently did just that when they crossed state lines to perform random acts of kindness.
"Green Bay obviously isn't as big as Chicago, no where near. I think it kind of brought the small town feel to a big city and just gave them more of a sense of community," said senior Kevin Atkins.
Atkins and more than thirty of his classmates held a donation drive to collect the goodies they would deliver to unsuspecting Chicagoans. They handed out flowers, pencils and bottles of water on Michigan Avenue.
"I just think we spread a lot of happiness to a lot of people," said Southwest senior Kristina Lavigne. "When we held their doors open, people tried to go to the other door. They weren't really sure what we were doing. They were confused by it, because they don't get that kindness all the time. It's not something that they always see."
The students visited a fire department to drop off blankets and stuffed animals to comfort young fire victims. They handed out 400 free books to low income students at an elementary school. But most of the students agree that it was a gathering place for the homeless that left a lasting impression on them.
"I heard a story from one gentleman who had his parents both killed when he was young, and he was living on his own for a very long time. He was talking about troubles in his life and how he's worked to overcome all the hardships. That was really a touching story to hear," explained Deca Co-President Jacob Gussert.
"I think we gave them hope when they're in a tougher time in their life. It just gave them something to keep moving on," added Atkins.
Micki Volk, Southwest High School marketing teacher and Deca advisor, organized the trip after seeing the idea on Pinterest. She's proud of her students' hard work and big hearts.
"Teenagers always impress me that they're able to rise to a challenge and that they're a lot more giving than I think many people give them the credit for," said Volk.
For many of the students, the trip has changed their lives.
"Since I've gotten back from it, I've just felt more compelled to brighten someone's day in any way that I could," said Atkins.
Gussert added, "There's lots of chances people are given to do the right thing. If you're given one of those chances, make the most of it and make an impression on someone's life in a positive way."
On their way home to Green Bay, the students stopped in Milwaukee to pack hundreds of boxes of food for the Milwaukee Hunger Task Force. The group hopes to do a similar random acts of kindness event in the Green Bay area in the future.