Students at St. John the Apostle School in Clark were recently the recipients of some well-deserved recognition when the school’s Kindness Club was featured in a segment by ABC7’s Bill Ritter as a part of his ongoing #BeKind campaign. The Eyewitness News reporter has challenged viewers to identify – and conduct – random acts of kindness on an everyday basis in order to actively counteract the effects of bullying in our schools and communities. By recognizing acts of kindness on all scales, Mr. Ritter aims to send the message goodness is still alive and well, and that all of us have a responsibility to follow the example set by those who are positively impacting the people around them.
Originally featured in the November Advocate, the Kindness Club was first conceived of by St. John sixth grader, Sebastian Nativo, who brought the idea to Principal Dr. Deborah Egan over his summer vacation. Sebastian imagined a club where students could gather to identify local problems and areas of needs that they could then design projects and ways in which they might work together to have a positive impact. Fueled by his own volunteer work with Be the Change, Sebastian simply aimed to “pay it forward” and to inspire those around him to do the same. Since its inception this past September, the Kindness Club’s roster has soared to nearly 50 students, with a waiting list of others wishing to get in. Together, St. John students have written messages to thank veterans and collected Christmas gifts for sick and hospitalized children.
Asked how it feels to see his efforts recognized by a major television news station, Sebastian says, “I just want to help people in need. I was surprised that The Kindness Club was going to be featured on ABC News, and it made me really happy. Regardless, the news, the newspaper, and everything else does not make me happier than helping people.”