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Draper Journal

Hope Challenge inspires APA students to perform kind acts

Dec 10, 2020 09:19AM ● By Julie Slama

APA students show their Hope Challenge coins before they pass it along with a kind act that they can do for their classmates, teachers, family, neighbors or anyone to spread kindness around. (Photo courtesy of APA)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

American Preparatory Academy eighth-grader Kate Nelson’s friend was diagnosed with COVID-19.

“She couldn’t leave her house. I helped make dinner (soup, rolls and pumpkin bars) and brought her family dinner,” she said. A couple days earlier, Kate had given her a note and a treat.

“It was really cool to realize I could do something to help other people,” Kate said.

After her friend recovered, Kate gave her a coin. 

It was one of about 2,000 kindness coins given to APA students on the three Draper campuses and the Early Learning Center as part of the national kick-off to Hope Challenge, an opportunity for students to perform a kind act for another and with it, pass along the coin.

“We’re already seeing the ripple effect of kindness,” said Shelley Broadhead, APA district character development director. “Once students receive a coin from another, they’re in a hurry to do something kind for someone else and pass it along.”

Broadhead already has reports of students cleaning classrooms at school and sisters helping one another in the morning with chores at home. Teachers, staff and administrators are involved as well. One helped sanitize an office and another helped a custodian clean up after lunch.

“Students are invested in this, they’re leaving the coin for the other person, challenging them to perform a kind act,” she said.

Each coin has an identification number where students can log in on the website watch the coins travel from person to person, and eventually to different schools, families and states.

“They can do kind acts for their neighbor, grandma, classmate at school,” she said, adding that online students also are invited to participate. 

Eighth-grader Mckenna Wong brought home the coin and gave it to her mother, Belinda, after vacuuming their home.

“It was a busy day for me, so she did the vacuuming without me asking and I considered that a great kindness,” Belinda Wong said.

Mckenna said that it made her feel good to do something she knew her mother would appreciate. 

Her mother then passed the coin along to a neighbor after she swept the neighbor’s curb after Sandy City’s bulk curbside pick-up.

Other students have passed along their coins. Broadhead said that one student wrote a note of appreciation and included the coin with it and gave it to her bus driver, another included it with homemade cookies and shoveled snow for their new neighbors; and another included it with a “sunshine box,” filled with everything yellow and orange her out-of-state cousin would appreciate and a note that said, “thank you for always spreading sunshine” before mailing it to her as a surprise.

The coins and their protective sleeve also have directions explaining the Hope Challenge and how to participate.

To help in the reduction of COVID-19, coins at school are able to be sanitized after they’re shared.

“Our character theme this month is to express gratitude and show kindness and this is one way, we can invite our student to show that and then, they can see the ripple effect it has at school, in their family and in their community—and in time, across the country,” Broadhead said, adding that the school was approached by Ashlee Headlee, executive director of Hands for Hope, who invited APA to be the first school to kick off the Hope Coin Challenge. “As a school who focuses heavily on character building and encouraging kindness, we were eager to participate.”

The Hope Challenge is encouraging students to provide an act of kindness to someone and pass along a coin inspiring that person to do his or her own act of kindness, said Dan Bazan, APA communications director. 

“2020 has been full of unprecedented challenges,” he said. “We hope this program instills the knowledge with our students that they have the power to positively impact their community.”

For Kate, she realized that it “made me feel better” to help her neighbors and the kindness coins are a good reminder because “it helps lots of people.” She has gone on to be kind, helping her younger sisters with piano and babysitting them for her parents.

“It’s a good reminder to be kind,” Kate said. “But you don’t have to have the coin to serve other people.”