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‘Take what you need’: students offer messages of goodwill

Student committee plans feel-good activities, ways to give back

Wyoming – Notes of kindness, love, peace and other positive feelings and attributes are so popular at Wyoming Intermediate School that they are hard to keep stocked.

Still, 46 fifth and sixth graders on the school’s Scholar Advisor Committee regularly add them to “Take What You Need” offerings, a bulletin board where students can pull uplifting messages written by peers from envelopes.

“I feel like there are a lot of people that need love, and I feel very happy about making their days go better,” said sixth-grader Shamar Santos, a member of the committee.

Started several years ago and led by student advocate Kailah Badwound-Moore, the committee involves students who spread goodwill all year throughout the whole school.

The group meets twice a month for 30 minutes to plan Spirit Week, food drives and activities around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, Women’s History Month and other occasions. They also plan to lead school tours for fourth-graders who will move to the Intermediate School in the fall, and they beautify the school with colorful posters and artwork.

From left, fifth-grader Brady Clayton, sixth-grader Kaleah Lacy, fifth-grader Sivay Martinez and sixth-grader Shamar Santos work to spread goodwill at Wyoming Intermediate School

‘I Have a Voice’

Students on the committee are chosen by teachers or voted in by classmates. A key role of members is to share about the group’s activities and encourage classmates to get involved. Badwound-Moore also calls on committee members to help other students on schoolwork.

The goal is to provide students with leadership opportunities and ways to create a positive community, she said.

“It gives them a sense of leadership and ownership, and a chance to take pride in being a part of the Wyoming district and this being their building,” she said. “They don’t get a lot of opportunities to feel heard as kids.

“It’s pretty nice that at 10, 11 or 12 years old they feel like, ‘Hey, I have a voice. I have an opinion. It’s being heard.’”

‘I feel like there are a lot of people that need love, and I feel very happy about making their days go better,’

–  sixth-grader Shamar Santos

Sixth-grader Kaleah Lacy said a highlight of being on the committee was drawing nice messages on hearts for Valentine’s Day and sticking them on people’s lockers.

“It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside,” she said. “When people come to their lockers, they see somebody loves them.”

Fifth-grader Brady Clayton enjoyed a committee project of spreading Martin Luther King Jr.’s words on posters and hanging them up.

“I love Martin Luther King Jr. Day a lot. It’s one of my favorite holidays,” he said. “There are so many quotes that never really get out there from Martin Luther King Jr. that I would like people to hear, other than ‘I Have a Dream.’”

Fifth-grader Sivay Martinez was passionate about being involved in celebrating Black History Month. The committee ordered pens embossed with messages for the month, and members got T-shirts. 

Sivay enjoys being a part of the committee.

“I love it really much, because I like seeing so many people being happy and enjoying the school.”

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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