Students spread kindness throughout Independence

Giving back to the community

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - "Thank you" was the typical reaction Friday when more than 80 students from Independence Middle School spread out through the neighborhood and among area businesses offering random acts of kindness.

The students raised nearly $2,000 by reading books and from collecting donations. Friday, they helped senior citizens with their yard work and randomly handed out gift cards in the community. Their plan is to spread kindness globally, one act at a time.

Sixth grader Shane Clough said the work and the cards are free but "all we ask in return is that they just 'pay it forward,' do something nice to other people."

Helen Szostek has a hard time doing yard work anymore and appreciated the work the students did at her Brookside Road home.

"They spread the mulch, they planted these beautiful flowers over here. They really did a wonderful job," said Szostek.

And giving away the gift cards and doing the yard work lifted the spirits of the students as well.

"It makes me feel really good," said student Taylor Gillespie working at a Delmur Avenue home, "that her yard is going to look amazing and she's going to be really happy."

Mike Matis received one of the gift cards and was impressed with what the students were doing.

"You know, we learn our ABCs and everything from school, but when you can teach character and that kind of thing, and generosity and caring, I think that's a great lesson for everybody," said Matis.

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