By Lindsey Sullivan, AmeriCorps Member serving at Northwest Elementary School.

Love is in the air at Northwest Elementary School. What started as a simple card-making activity for third through fifth grade students became a school-wide opportunity for students to understand what it means to be compassionate. Teachers shared books about love, kindness and belonging with their classes to give more context to the activity.

This Valentine’s Day, our students and staff raised more than $400 to purchase books, games, stuffed animals and arts and crafts supplies for children and babies at local healthcare facilities, Elliot Hospital and Catholic Medical Center. Handmade Valentine’s Day cards created by kindergarten through fifth grade students were paired with these donations. Some of the cards made their way to Boston Medical Center, rippling love and kindness throughout neighboring communities.

It all would not have been possible without the support of Northwest’s principal, staff and City Year team. The school launched Pennies for Pediatric Patients, which inspired one fifth grade class to raise $150 on its own. Spare change and dollar bills filled donation jars and buckets decorated with hearts located in every classroom. One third grade student brought in money she earned from doing household chores.

This project was great preparation for Random Acts of Kindness Week, which is now in full swing. It allowed Northwest students to tangibly see the impact they can make in our community every day and especially this Valentine’s Day. They learned their positive collective force is not something that can be contained or dedicated to one week—it is something to be shared every day of the year.

The generosity and genuine love that our students exude will always leave an impression on my heart, and I can’t wait to see the random acts of kindness they continue to do throughout the rest of the school year and beyond.




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