Created by Nevada resident Drew Stevens and his wife, Barbara, who lost their 12-year-old son Josh to a tragic accident in 2008, the Josh Stevens Foundation is inspiring school kids and staff to “be kind” like Josh.
“My little boy was incredibly kind, we want his heart to continue to shine,” Drew Stevens said after his recent presentation at Arroyo Vista, which serves kindergarten through seventh grade students. “We want him to act as an inspiration for other children to be kind.”
Nearly 150 schools in Nevada, Oregon, Oklahoma and Minnesota have implemented the program and about a dozen more schools are in the process of coming on board.
Implementing the program is easy — the foundation outfits the entire school staff with “Be Kind” shirts and the school is then asked to purchase 100 or more shirts that parents and students can buy. Schools can customize the shirts with the slogan of their choice.
Every shirt says “Be Kind…” on the front and on the back has the selected slogan. Some have stated Be Kind… It’s the new cool. Be Kind… It’s contagious, and Be Kind… Like Josh. Arroyo Vista’s shirt will read Be Kind… Be the difference, Lead the Pack, a reference to its coyote mascot.
In addition, schools receive 305 kindness cards “we always use the number five because Josh was born on Oct. 5,” Stevens said. The cards can be handed out to students who are caught being kind. Schools also receive “be kind” bracelets and a guide that gives examples of how to keep the kindness movement thriving on campus. Ideas such as having a dedicated “be kind” day when students and staff wear their shirts and bracelets, or a kindness week, where students and staff can take part in a designated act of kindness each day.
Stevens said a middle school in Las Vegas created a kindness preserve in the center of its campus named for Josh.
“The whole idea is to keep these kids understanding and talking about the importance of kind acts, what they mean regardless of how grand or small they may seem,” Stevens said.
The reason people are embracing the movement, he said, is because it’s a positive message that tells children what to do instead of what not to do.
“Our message is not about bullying, this is about trying to create a climate of kindness and really emphasize, recognize and reward the positive side of all of that,” Stevens said.
To learn more about the foundation visit joshstevensfoundation.org.
firstname.lastname@example.org (619) 293-1859‘Kind’ son inspires school movement