The Star-Herald

Weekly digital jigsaw – Students give gifts of kindness – Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Though kindness may often seem forgotten in the rush of today’s world, Presque Isle Middle School students worked during the holiday season to keep it front and center.

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Julie Stephenson, library media specialist at PIMS, said, “One never ceases to hear about the reactions and reflections of those on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.  These acts of kindness will not only brighten the day of an unsuspecting recipient, but also the hearts of those who take a moment to make another smile.”

Staff and students reflected that sometimes holiday time brings sadness to those in unfortunate situations, and there are those who might benefit from a gift to brighten the holidays.

Students in each grade adopted projects through which they shared special gifts throughout the community.

Sixth-graders set out to share their kindness with the Central Aroostook Humane Society, by collecting donations for homeless animals waiting for a family, to keep them fed and happy for weeks to come.  Students collected a variety of items, from pet food and treats, blankets and towels, old clothing for animal beds and cleaning supplies, all with the goal to keep the Humane Society stocked up over the holidays and into the new year.  

“This project had the students helping those who have no voice, but the wagging tails and kitty purrs received in return brought many a smile to our students’ faces,” said Stephenson.  

The seventh-graders tackled multiple kindness projects throughout the community.  One group of students made a trip to the Presque Isle Nursing Home, where they brought smiles to many faces with a round of caroling and visits.  Another group traveled to the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library, where they volunteered to move books and assist library staff.  A final group of students visited Leisure Village and Leisure Gardens to visit with residents and deliver handmade sock snowmen as gifts.  

Students enjoyed the effort to bring smiles to each group they visited, whether through a chorus of song, a helping hand or a homemade gift.

Lastly, the eighth-graders teamed together to gather and deliver items to the Sister Mary O’Donnell Homeless Shelter in Presque Isle during a time of year when love and kindness are needed more than ever. Through posters, word of mouth, and donation boxes, students gathered much-needed food, clothing and household items, from towels and blankets to soaps and shampoos.  

A group of the students delivered the donation in person to the shelter.  

Richardson said the kindness projects affected staff and students alike. “Whether providing the gift of physical donations to those in need, or providing a helping hand, a smile, a gift of song or conversation, the students of Presque Isle Middle School recognize the importance of kindness, random or planned, and the impact those acts can have, either for an individual or to a community.”

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