Over the last year, the students of Nueva’s current fifth grade class have been on a mission to make a difference. Inspired by an episode of the Netflix series, The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis, they sought to help children without access to clean water.
Last year as fourth graders in Matt Berman’s class, the students discovered there were no books for kids their age on the Greco-Persian Wars (part of their study of ancient Greece), so they wrote one of their own, published it on Amazon, and it quickly became the top-selling book in the Children's History category for two months.
Remembering their desire to provide clean water to children, the students decided to donate the proceeds from sales of their book to Charity:Water, and extended their efforts by launching a fundraising campaign. They put their hearts into selling their book and promoting their campaign to family, friends, and neighbors throughout the fall and holiday season. When their campaign ended on December 31, 2018, they had raised a total of $10,439, earning more than three times their original goal of $3,000 to provide water treatment facilities ultimately serving hundreds of people.
This past Friday, Leon Logothetis of The Kindness Diaries joined the entire fifth grade class for a Skype call to learn more about what they had accomplished with the sales of their book on the Greco-Persian Wars. “What you did is amazing!” Leon said. “You went out in the world and helped people, and in this way you changed the world.”
You went out in the world and helped people, and in this way you changed the world."
Students learned of Leon’s life and that the inspiration for acts of kindness he creates around the world started when he was a young student like them.
“I was bullied in school and felt very alone,” Leon shared. “A kid, just like one of you, just changed my life with one sentence: ‘Would you like to come eat lunch with me and my friends?’ I knew that I would go on to try to inspire people like you to be kind.”
Steeped in social-emotional learning as Nueva students are, they understood immediately. Lisa Hinshelwood, Nueva’s Lower School Social-Emotional Learning teacher who initially shared The Kindness Diaries, reminded the students, “It’s amazing what you can do with inspiration, motivation, and working together.”
Leon gave the students one more challenge: Each student who does something kind for someone, and reports back through their teachers, will receive a copy of his book, “The Kindness Diaries: One Man's Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World.” We can’t wait until we see what these kind kids will do next!