A student-led club of high school students is using its voice to spread lessons of kindness to elementary school children throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Students Matter Club at Saugus High School, known as Safe School Ambassadors at other Hart District schools, uses arts and crafts and real-life scenarios to teach the students, ages 5 to 12, about the importance of being caring and considerate.
“The point is bullying doesn’t start in high school it starts in elementary school,” said Normita Meza, a SHS teacher and advisor of the club. “We hope to plant the seed now to remind them to be kind.”
On Friday, 12 of the club’s student leaders took their activities to Sunshine Day Camp at Stevenson Ranch Elementary School for the first time. In prior years, the club had visited Sunshine Day Camp’s Valencia location.
“I love the whole idea… the message they’re sending is great,” said Samantha Ottman, site director for the Stevenson Ranch Sunshine Day Camp. “They [Sunshine students] seem to be very intrigued by everything and they’re excited.”
During the event, the 50 Sunshine Day Camp kids rotated between three different stations and crafts.
“We Google different activities that relate to kindness and are elementary-age appropriate, but also fit with our message,” said Students Matter President Natalie Slater, a senior at SHS.
In one room, students made a door hanging craft where they wrote the name of someone special on a card and associated kinds words with the letter in their name. In another room, students created a “kindness chain” out of paper and participated in a “what would you do” scenario focused on bullying.
The third activity included a kite station where students thought about what they want to be or aspire to be when they grow up.
The camp’s 50 students also carried around sticker charts which were used for any Act of Random Kindness (ARK) activity done throughout the day. Those that receive the most stickers at the end of the day were awarded with a gift card from Juice It Up or with pencil grams.
“The sticker charters really inspire them to do the ARKs,” Slater said.
All students also receive a Students Matter certificate which includes a lollipop and additional certificates from Lazy Dog Restaurant and Wood Ranch BBQ.
SHS students involved with the club hope it makes it difference in young students’ lives.
“We really want kids to think of practicing kindness when they’re younger,” SHS junior Donovan Beck said.
Slater said students do remember activities they’ve done in the past like a toothpaste activity where they squeezed out all of the toothpaste and then try to put it back into the tube.
“It showed them that once you say a certain word, it sticks with the person and can’t be taken back,” Slater said.
Friday’s activity was a smaller version of the club’s main event, Pass It On: A Path to Kindness, for elementary school students at the high school on April 15.
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