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Kindness Week Inspires After-School Program Idea

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Written By: Clare Bennett

Almost a year ago, Massoud and Bonnie, the masterminds behind Make DC Smile, received a beautiful “thank you” message from a senior at Thomas Haney Secondary School in Maple Ridge BC, Canada. The author of the message, Caroline Lee, was an active leadership student and shared her experience holding Make DC Smile-inspired signs up with her classmates on the side of the road to morning commuters. She wrote, “People drove past us honking like crazy, giving us thumbs up, smiling and waving at us.” Local news even featured Lee’s sign-holding debut, and following a message from Thomas Haney Secondary School’s principal and a Skype conference with Lee’s leadership class, the principal invited Make DC Smile to May 2014 Kindness Week in Vancouver.

After an excellent surprise upon landing in Vancouver, Make DC Smile loved every minute of Kindness Week. Over the three days of Kindness Week participation, Make DC Smile visited two local schools and a community leadership conference. First, Massoud and Bonnie addressed the same leadership class at Thomas Haney that they had Skyped with and “paid it forward” with those students around the school and community.

At a local elementary school, Make DC Smile met with the students’ Kindness Club, which promoted gratitude and positivity through “kindness coupons.” Later that day, Make DC Smile visited another school within the Vancouver district.  They participated in a school-wide assembly featuring the “Honk If You Love Someone” video, and Massoud answered questions about Make DC Smile.  To wrap up the full day of good vibes, the whole school created their own signs to hold up for commuters and took to the sidewalks together!

The last day of Kindness Week consisted of a leadership conference at a local community center, which brought leadership students of all grade levels from several area schools.  Massoud was among several notable guest speakers including Casey Wright, the town mayor, and the co-founders of Make BC Smile Jenna Crews and Miranda Tymoschuk. All in all, Make DC Smile spent a wildly enjoyable and successful week partnering with those schools in Vancouver.

Kindness Week truly inspired Make DC Smile to take its project to the next level back home. The incredible opportunity in Vancouver was an undeniable example of how contagious kindness is and reaffirmed Make DC Smile’s cause. With new energy and new ideas, Make DC Smile has decided to work with DC-area schools to create after-school programs fostering healthy outlooks on life, random acts of kindness, and contagious positivity. Make DC Smile is enthusiastic about its new idea to partner with DC-area schools and can’t wait to see the idea take hold!  If your school would like to start its own Make DC Smile after-school program, please contact us at

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