Two grade 12 Windermere Secondary School students are enacting positive change, one small act of kindness at a time. Jason Chong and Michael Luu, attended WE Day this past fall and felt that they needed to do something after the experience. What resulted was Windermere Random Acts of Kindness (WRAK) - a new initiative aimed towards spreading kindness and compassion in the community.
"We wanted to take something away from the event, not just go and watch amazing celebrities. When we came back to Windermere, after the event, we were inspired, but really didn't know what to do. So we gathered everyone who attended and brainstormed together, and WRAK was what we produced," says Luu.
"We met up right after WE Day and all the attendees got together. We decided that we needed to do something from the experience, you know, the idea that we got to go to WE Day," said Chong. "We have to do something!"
Currently, the two young leaders are taking the initiative out beyond their own school and inspiring younger students at eastside elementary schools, like Renfrew Elementary.
When asked why they wanted to focus on their own neighbourhood, rather than international aid like many other We Day initiaves, Luu and Chong are quick to respond with passion about making Vancouver a better place.
"We feel that if you want to make a change, you have start in your own backyard. Start small and then expand," says Luu. "When we started we were only focused on Windermere, but now we are working with elementary schools like Carleton and Collingwood, and today we presented at Renfrew."
Renfrew Elementary has a strong school culture around kindness and awareness of others. The school works hard to build compassion amongst the school community. WRAK is a great way for students to feel empowered to "be good to others".
"The gift of kindness and gratitude has not only been a theme at our school for the past few weeks but is embedded in our culture," says Selma Smith, Vice-Principal at Renfrew. "Through daily and weekly activities students further develop a growing awareness of our school motto Renfrew CARES- Taking Care of Ourselves, Taking Care of Others, Taking Care of our Surroundings."
With just a quick look at the massive "gratitude display" in the main hall at Renfrew, one can clearly see the results of WRAK at the school.
To learn more about WRAK and some of the kindness challenges you can follow them on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK.