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Second Graders earns the Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Award

Dear South Row Community,
 
I am writing to tell you about my incredible experience in Newtown, CT on Saturday February 21st when I attended the Charlotte Bacon Act of Kindness Awards to watch our very own William Manganis, grade 2, receive a Finalist Award. I was honored and humbled to join the Manganis and Middlemiss families in this experience. The awards ceremony was an amazing event filled with music, inspiring children and a great organization determined to spread kindness. This experience is hard to capture in words alone, so I am also putting several links in to bring you to videos or songs that connect to this event.
 
Newtown Kindness organization seeks to spread the power of kind acts and recognize individuals for their efforts. For more information on the sponsoring group called Newtown Kindness, please see their webpage:
http://www.newtownkindness.org/charlotte-bacon-act-of-kindness-award/
 
William is one of ten children who received a “Finalist Award.” There were seven children who were honored as “Youth Time Achievement Honorees,” twenty-eight children who were “Medalist,” and one school as the “Honored School” all for their dedication to kind acts. The children’s ages ranged from five through eighteen years old. In the three years that these awards have existed they have honored children in four countries and thirty-one states. The kind acts and incredible projects that all the children are involved in are absolutely inspiring. 
 
Newtown Kindness prepared an amazing night to honor all of these children and the kindness they are spreading around the world. There was a two-hour awards ceremony in which each child’s project was shared individually. To name just a few of the awe-inspiring projects: feeding the homeless; backpacks for cancer patients; creating lunch bunch groups for children with autism; paying off school lunch bills for families in need; anti-bullying campaigns; supporting animal shelters; distribution of letters to the elderly and building homes in Africa. All of these projects were conceived and carried out by children.
 
William’s presentation was saved for last, perhaps I am biased, but his story and his mission to spread kind acts through his “Kindness Rocks for Joey” was not only an amazing presentation, but a mission loved by everyone at the event.  He prepared a video for his presentation and there was not a dry eye in the house of over 400 people when the video was done. You can view his presentation on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYDqhQWByzU William also had a booth set up during the “Showcase of Kindness” after the awards ceremony and he was quite busy telling people about his project and selling his rocks! He is well on his way to his $10,000 goal for The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.
 
In addition to the awards, the ceremony included performances by the band “Alternate Routes” and 13 year-old Taylor Felt, who is an upcoming star.  “Alternate Routes” wrote a song for Newtown called “Nothing More” and continues to donate proceeds from their iTunes profits to Newtown Kindness. Taylor Felt is an absolute star and wrote an inspiring song for all kids called “Believe.” To hear these songs, please follow the youtube links below.
Nothing more, Alternate Routes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIuy1a9IdHk
Believe, Taylor Felt
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsX76HM7mAI
 
Charlotte’s parents are dedicated not only to spreading acts of kindness and recognizing those people who lead the way, but they are also dedicated to telling Charlotte’s story. They have written a children’s book with the author, Renata Bowers, called Good Dogs, Great Listeners. It tells the beautiful story of how Charlotte, a resistant reader, but a great adventurer, came to love books and the adventures she found in them.  I have a copy and I will leave it out on the counter for anyone who would like to read it.
 
Finally, Newtown Kindness is launching a new campaign to spread more random acts of kindness throughout the country and world. They are launching the “Nice Bucket Challenge.” They are asking everyone to do a random act of kindness, take a picture, and upload it to social media using the hashtag #KINDNESSMONTH. They are asking each person to tag three more people to spread the word. They are trying to fill the “Nice Bucket” with 10,000 kindness pledges to start up a kindness movement. I encourage everyone to take the NICE BUCKET CHALLENGE.
 
This event has me reflecting on keeping our focus not only on academic education, but also on the character development of our children. Kindness truly matters. Let’s continue to work together to make sure that we have set that model for the children, and recognize kindness among children whenever we see it.
 
Thank you to William for being such an inspiration to us all!
 
Best,
Dr. McMahon