Info@NationalCyberSecurity
Info@NationalCyberSecurity

Meet Augusta Halle, catalyst of Ohio’s K-12 Kindness Games | #schoolsaftey


Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer have partnered with Kindland/Values in Action to shine a spotlight on positive news. Each week, reporter Peter Chakerian will be taking a look at the people, initiatives and organizations across Greater Cleveland who are walking the talk in making the region a better place. Here is the first of our Kindland profiles.

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A capstone project led Hawken High School senior Augusta Halle to an epiphany:

If she could create more conversations between communities to “help counterbalance social media with more positive aspects” across Ohio schools, the resulting energy shift could benefit the whole state.

Halle’s senior project resulted in a pair of partnerships — first with Kindland/Values in Action and ultimately with the Governor’s Ohio School Safety Center, an association of high schools and students from around the state working in conjunction with Gov. Mike DeWine and state government.

Together, they developed a “21 Simple Acts of Kindness” bingo-like game; the number represented the memory of each of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims in Uvalde, Texas.

Distributed to every K-12 school in the state, students were to log as many of their acts as possible — competing in a “Kindness Games,” and thereby gamifying the 21 acts in a 21st-century way.

A redux of the competition will take place this coming February. Participants are asked to download the “Just Be Kind” App [Google Play] [Apple] and use it to log community kindnesses. February was picked to coincide with National Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, Halle said.

The Kindness Games was (and is) a “win-win” proposition, according to Halle: Students help change their respective schools and hometowns for the better; more group participation helps more people and scores big rewards for the winning school.

“With everything going on in the country, acts of kindness are often overlooked,” Halle told Cleveland.com in a recent interview. “We know bad news the moment it happens,” she said. But in talking with Values-in-Action co-founder, President and CEO Stuart Muszynski, they agreed “it takes a lot longer for the good happening to get noticed.”

Bad news is what led to the creation of the Ohio School Safety Center in the first place.

In August 2019, DeWine signed an executive order creating the center, responsible for assisting local schools and first responders with “preventing, preparing for, and responding to threats and acts of violence—including self-harm—through a holistic, solutions-based approach.”

Halle knows that the Center and a bingo game won’t change the conversation or the energy overnight— nor the social media snark prevalent among younger generations, or the chasms that exist between contrasting school systems or their respective cities.

“But greater awareness and understanding of what others are dealing with every day can bring all of us a whole lot closer together,” Halle said. “In helping one another, those actions can become habits.”

And that’s a kind of collective consciousness epiphany we can all get behind.

Related: Kindland Summit tackles lofty ideals, launches partnership with cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer

Related: Aiming for a smile and hoping for peaceful discussion: Letter from the Editor

If you’re inspired to make your part of Cleveland a kind land, we want to hear from you. It’s not about “getting credit,” it’s about inspiring and uplifting others. Email initiatives, organizations and acts of kindness to reporter Peter Chakerian at [email protected].



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