Spreading kindness from Northridge to the community

Northridge Junior Optimist Club president Jessica Miller, left presenting a check to Carolyn Manley at Dogtown Resort Animal Shelter in Middlebury.

MIDDLEBURY — Don’t be surprised if a Middlebury teenager does something nice for you this week.

Northridge High School’s Junior Optimist Club kicked off its “Week of Kindness” program on Monday for which students perform random acts of kindness throughout their community until Friday.

Taking on the challenge, students may buy a cup of coffee, give a hug, ask someone about their day or perform other signs of kindness and optimism.

Leading up to this week, the club has performed one act of kindness each week for past month.

Now, the club is encouraging the whole school to get involved with the program.

Optimist Adviser George Pietrzak said the club’s program was modified from a program sponsored earlier this year by Junior Optimist International after witnessing and learning how negativity has been a top issue in many schools throughout the nation. 

“It’s important to the club to spread the message that each student matters, is cared for and cared about,” he said. “Optimism and a positive attitude are created by showing others you care by building relationships. Joy comes from giving, which is a goal of the optimist club.”

With this program, Pietrzak said the club hopes that kindness will become a way of life at Northridge High School.

“We have seen attitudes change and the program appears to be a great success,” he said. “I’m sure it will be an ongoing part of the agenda for many years to come.”

The Northridge Junior Optimist Club, now in its third year, is sponsored by the Middlebury Breakfast Optimist Club.

The club meets twice a month and has been involved in several community service projects each year to benefit  Middlebury as well as the greater Elkhart County, according to Pietrzak.

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