Spotlight On: Be Kind Movement
It’s the next installment of our series Spotlight On, where we explore issues that matter the most to you, with professionals in those fields.
This time we’ve teamed up with the Be Kind Movement, who want to do what they say on the tin, and spread a little kindness in the world and help young people better prepare for the future.
They’re here to shed some light on what they do and why they do it…
We are the Be Kind Movement. Since 2015, we’ve been celebrating and spreading kindness through our educational material and workshops. To achieve this, we focus on developing emotional intelligence (EQ) skills, using the medium of film to promote our Ten Values of Kindness in children and young people. In this way, we hope to help young people through the various challenges they may currently be facing, and to better prepare them for the challenges they may face in the future.
What are we doing?
We’re currently working on our Kindness in School Programme (KISP) which aims to develop educational material that fulfill the 3Es of our charity’s objectives: Educate, Empower and Entertain. This programme delivers Kindness workshops that build EQ skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making skills. Our ultimate goal is to positively impact future generations through the power of kindness by instilling values such as compassion, resilience, and respect in children and young people now, so that they can realise their full potential as adults. We believe people who can recognise the benefits of being kind to others, and to themselves, can become a force for positive change amongst their peers, families, communities and workplaces.
What are the benefits of being kind?
The benefits of kindness are immeasurable, including increasing our self-esteem, improving our moods, and decreasing our susceptibility to mental health issues. For young people this also means being able to enjoy their childhood, do well academically, and have confidence in themselves and their abilities. Promoting inclusion creates a kinder and safer community that cares for the disadvantaged and vulnerable, allowing our society to flourish. Studies focusing on social and emotional learning show decreased dropout rates, school and classroom behaviour issues, drug use, teen pregnancy, and criminal behaviour.
Being kind is also good for our body as it reduces our blood pressure and decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) which strengthens our heart. It also increases our oxytocin levels (the love hormone) which reduces our risk of various diseases - helping us live longer, healthier, and happier lives! During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen how kindness has benefited individuals and communities, making it easier for us all to cope during unprecedented times. We ran a Kindness during COVID campaign earlier in the pandemic, to highlight the amazing acts of kindness we witnessed across the country.
How do our workshops work?
Our KISP workshops revolve around a selection of high impact, short films specifically chosen as they exemplify one or more of our kindness values. Films can offer a powerful visual storytelling experience, representing real life situations (such as racism, and bullying) with messages that are easy to understand. We offer different films for different ages, to ensure the messages are appropriate and our audience can absorb them. The workshops offer a safe space to discuss the film's message, encouraging students to share their perspectives and form connections with classmates. Having real discussions in the classroom about issues that impact us all in different ways can help forge trust between teachers and students. This allows students to thrive in their learning environment and helps teachers do their jobs more effectively. We’ve also created activities and games that go hand in hand with each film. Students can privately explore the kindness message themselves with the take-home activity sheets. In class, our games are designed to promote collaboration, to build self esteem and to have fun! Examples include a “Compliment Catch”, where students throw compliments to their classmates, and a “Balloon Search”, where students write the name on a balloon, then jumble them all up and have to re-find their own balloon as quickly as possible (top tip: it’s fastest when students work together).
Why do we do it?
While we don’t have all the answers to the world’s problems, we believe conversations are a great place to start. Teaching vital communication and reflection skills in our workshops can immediately benefit students through an increased understanding of themselves and their needs, and how to navigate their emotions. We hope that by facilitating these conversations we can emphasise kindness in conflict resolution, whether that conflict is within ourselves, or with the outside world. Whatever the issue, we believe kindness is a crucial part of the solution.
Check out our campaigns for inspiration with the latest one being Kindness Academy for the wellbeing of students! As there's always room for kindness in everyone's life, how can you make kindness a routine in yours? Why not compliment someone, write someone a thank you note, or reach out to someone for a chat. Check out our kindness resources or blog for more ideas.
If you think your school could benefit from our kindness workshops, or if you’re interested in volunteering with us, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We help our volunteers build employability skills such as communication, teamwork, creativity and initiative. We are also working with the government’s Kickstart Scheme to provide working experience to young people from the age of 18-24 years in areas such as digital fundraising, social media and grants writing.