©2019 THE SMILE PROJECT

SPARKing Kindness on Campus

July 10, 2019

This is a guest post written by Mitchel Henderson. Mitchel is a rising sophomore at Westminster College.

 

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Happiness is.. sparking happiness on campus. My first year as part of the Westminster College SPARK opened my eyes to the different ways we can all bring happiness to our fellow classmates. Some of the events included writing inspirational messages on the sidewalks, putting out candy in the dining hall for Valentine’s Day, and writing compliments for every single student on campus.

 

My interest in SPARK started during my time at Rotary Youth Leadership Award Camp (RYLA). I was fortunate to have Liz as my counselor. Hearing her talk about ways to spread kindness and about how her own organization looks to bring kindness to a whole variety of people, made me wonder how I could get involved.

 

Then she introduced the SPARK program. A club solely devoted to creating happiness within the community sounds like just the thing we need today. Now is the time that we should be spreading kindness instead of hate, joy instead of anger. I was already in charge of a “good doers” club at my high school so I wasn’t sure how I would go about introducing the SPARK club. Also, being a senior and ready to graduate as soon as possible didn’t help either.

 

Once I got to Westminster College one year later, I was greeted by a booth of happy folks giving out free seeds and dirt to grow flowers in your dorm. A little something to bring some life to a usually drab bedroom. These students were a part of SPARK. This immediately made me interested in joining.

 

My first couple of weeks on campus were hard. I didn’t know anyone in my classes or the clubs I joined. It was only SPARK that felt like home. I quickly got to know some of the students in charge of running the club. One person I was extremely grateful for meeting was the president of Westminster’s SPARK, Mackenzie Basalla. She brought a smile to every meeting and made sure that every single person was doing alright. She completely embodied what it means to be a SPARK member.

 

My favorite event we did all year was the compliment boards. We created an excel sheet with every student in attendance at Westminster College and wrote each a compliment. We then transferred them on huge sheets of paper that we hung up in our student center. Although it did take us long into the night to finish, being able to see the smiles on everyone’s face the next morning was well worth it. Those long nights really brought us together as a club and opened me up to a lot of new people on campus. All the people I met through SPARK had the same strive to spark happiness in everyone on campus.

 

SPARK showed me that brightening the days of others will inevitably brighten your day. No matter what is happening to you, forcing a smile will make you look at the bright side of things. The world can always use a little more kindness and you can be that spark.

 

 

 

 

 

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