Middlesex Middle School students express their kindness
Although Kindness Counts, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a school-based community service group headquartered at Middlesex Middle School, the students have not performed their good deeds on an actual school day in the past six months. Their regularly-scheduled visits to St. Luke's Lifeworks' shelter in Stamford, where they prepare and serve elaborate full-course dinners, have occurred on school holidays ranging from Memorial Day to Yom Kippur since last April. In addition, student volunteers have gathered during the summer months to engage in service activities, which earned for Kindness Counts awards like Outstanding Volunteer Youth Group of 2003 and the 2007 Challenge to Educational Citizenship Award.
Monday, Sept. 28, was a typical day for Kindness Counts. The sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade volunteers were not at school because of the holiday, but converged at St. Luke's shelter and prepared a meal.
Kindness Counts has never been a "club." There are no meetings, other than the days when students gather to perform good deeds. The sole prerequisite for inclusion in the group is a willingness to follow Kindness Counts' policy of good manners and traditional courtesy. It is evident that every young participant enjoys assisting the less-fortunate.
The students do yard clean-up, painting and small maintenance tasks for homebound senior citizens. When musically gifted students participate, the group entertains at rest homes. Their dinners began a decade ago, when the teacher who organized the group told students that he often delivered Meals-on-Wheels in the summer months. Intrigued, the students asked whether they could cook and serve meals to those who might benefit from their services. Kindness Counts was created on the spot, the group's first dinner being in the form of a party for a senior public housing facility.
The school group may be contacted through its teacher, Jonathan Guyot Smith, at JoSmith@darienps.org or call 655-2518.