With a new school and community garden, Lord Kitchener Elementary has embraced the practice of everyday gratitude.
The Gratitude Graffiti Project is the brainchild of Lord Kitchener parent Lucila McElroy, who created the first Gratitude Graffiti Project a few years ago while living in New Jersey. "It all started when my husband turned 40," says McElroy. "I decided to do a family project of gratitude, to acknowledge all the ways we were grateful for my husband - 40 Ways in 40 Days for his 40th Birthday." The idea grew from there and McElroy, a professional life coach, took the idea to the city as a community building initiative.
Upon moving back to Vancouver, McElroy approached Lord Kitchener staff about engaging the students and having them get involved. She reached out to local businesses and received support from the Vancouver Foundation - Neighbourhood Small Grants.
"The Gratitude Graffiti Project aims to inspire and teach the skills needed to develop a healthy gratitude practice. Our goal is not to create a one time, once a year feel good project," says McElroy. "We focus on a fun and creative project that teaches the benefits of a gratitude practice and how to create a simple gratitude practice on an ongoing basis."
Students at Lord Kitchener began the project with a "pep rally for gratitude", with presentations by McElroy and local radio DJ Kid Carson.
The Gratitude Graffiti Project will run at the school and at various businesses in Kerrisdale until Thanksgiving. Students will be writing what they are grateful for on ribbons, which will be tied to the fence outside the school. Students will also engage parents and passersby to also participate, creating a visual celebration of gratitude.
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