Candy Care from the Kindness Contest
--by khclark, posted Jan 25, 2011
In early December, I had a fun idea. I thought it would be a good idea to provide care packages for my students who were heading into their final exams. I teach two classes at CWRU in Ohio, which is a difficult, research oriented, private school.I also teach two classes at Tri-C, a community college made up of more mature college students who worked and had families. They had their own stresses. I found this site, HelpOthers.org and the kindness contest, and wrote in with my idea to use the $100 to provide care packages for my students.
Before I even knew if I would win the kindness contest, I spent $50 of my own cash. I used it to get the supplies for my CWRU students' care packages. I pondered this for awhile before I did it, because $50 is a lot of money to me, but it quickly became an obsession. I decided to do it on the last day of class before finals. I bought 30 plastic "joy" bags. They were pretty and inexpensive. I then bought about 12 bags of different kinds of candy. Without deliberately doing so, I spent $49. I thought that was a sign. ;-) I think what made this truly wonderful though is that I also got many many stickers. A fun sister of mine had given me stickers as a gift. I included this as well.
At CWRU the next day, I told my co-instructor before the first class what I intended on doing. He thought is was a great idea. (He is a psychology professor who believes strongly in being supportive of students.) We always begin the day by going around in the circle sharing things that have happened in the days since we last saw each other. For the first time, I began the circle, and I told them about how much I appreciated them, and that I wanted to help them before their finals. I then gave everyone a plastic bag, which of course was confusing to them. I then began to pass around bags of candy in both directions and told them to take a few pieces and pass them on. Then, I passed out the stickers and suggested they do the same thing. There was so much laughter and giggling and joy! One student covered his shirt with stickers and regretted that it was winter because nobody could see!
Another student was so happy about the charms pops I had included. Those and the stickers, she said, made her feel like a little girl. As each person shared his or her reflections, most mentioned the candy bags and stickers. They were so happy!
A few hours later, I was teaching my much smaller (10 students as opposed to 18 in the previous class) ESL class. I gave them each a bag and proceeded to pass around the candy. They were so surprised. They were happy, but a bit more confused then the American students. One student said, "Who is giving us this?" I said I was. He said, "But who paid for it?" I said, "I did." They just smiled.
A week later, a student of mine from the ESL class turned in his writing folder and he emailed me this: "I am doing well,,,,, getting sick of studying. I still have one more exam to take on 15th. YOUR CARE PACKAGES was really effective ! The candies and chocolates made me feel better, when I was depressed by studying for finals. Thank you so much." Which made me smile :)
(i'm a prof too! ) big hugs and smiles to you,