I’ve always loved the Dignity Health “Hello Humankindness” commercials. You know the one where the scuba diver cuts away a rope that was wrapped around a whale shark? Or the one where a driver stops to reunite a foal with its mother by lifting the lanky baby over a highway barrier? That real “found footage” captures the hearts of viewers with a simple, yet powerful message about the ability we each have to make a difference.
That’s a message you’ll find in classrooms throughout the Merced City School District as well. Our schools are on a mission to not only support academic success, but also to help students build character and become good citizens. That’s why we are so excited about a new partnership with Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center Merced called the Hello Humankindness Student Ambassador Program. Each month, we will be working together to recognize students from one of our 18 schools who go above and beyond to spread kindness on their campuses and throughout our community. The children will be featured in videos that are shared on our websites and social media pages, and they will receive special gifts from Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center Merced.
Michelle Oliver, marketing manager for Dignity Health, Central California, was instrumental in developing this partnership. She also happens to be a proud graduate of MCSD schools.
“Growing up and attending school in Merced gave me a deep appreciation for this community and its education system. Even though I’m no longer a resident, a huge piece of my heart is still here,” she said. “This partnership was an automatic yes for us. We are so excited to recognize students for their selfless acts of kindness and hope it continues to spread throughout Merced.”
We kicked off the program this month at Burbank Elementary, where three outstanding second-graders were selected as the first Hello Humankindness Student Ambassadors after starting a club called “Changing the World with Kindness.”
Kea Vang, Haleigh Pilkington, and Sophia Gutierrez are on a mission to make the world a better place – one small gesture at a time. They’ve handed out kindness-themed pencils and flowers to fellow students and staff, and they love surprising their classmates by clipping clothespins with positive messages on their backpacks. They’ve also placed uplifting posters in strategic spots around town, and they made colorful bunnies with nice notes attached to hand out at Easter.
Kea says, “We want people to feel special so that’s why we started a kindness club,” Kea said.
“I like this club because we get to spread kindness, be nice to others, and it will spread around so everyone can be nice to each other,” Haleigh added.
The girls have received great support and inspiration from their teacher and parents, and the recipients of their handmade gifts are always very appreciative.
“They sometimes give me a hug, or they say thank you. It makes me feel really happy,” Sophia explained.
We’re excited to share many more uplifting stories as this partnership continues, and we hope you’ll enjoy seeing the creative ways our students are spreading kindness by following our social media pages and visiting the Hello Humankindness Student Ambassadors web page: https://dignityhlth.org/2JYnUIn.
Sara Sandrik, an Emmy Award-winning former journalist, is the public information officer for the Merced City School District. She can be reached at email@example.com.