On June 29, the Illinois state legislature approved a new bill, inspired by the work done by Glenbrook South High School students, teachers and administrators.
Bill HR1199, a bipartisan resolution, designates December 11 through December 17, 2016 as “Random Act of Kindness Week” across Illinois.
Its muse was GBS Random Act of Kindness Week, which began in December 2014 and also ran in December 2015, said Josh Koo, sponsor of Key Club, which oversaw GBSRAK.
“It all started when the GBS student services department encouraged all clubs to work together to promote emotional wellness,” Koo said.
A week-long challenge was created to encourage students to do one nice thing for someone else. From there, the culture of kindness spread across the community as Glenview was infiltrated with good deeds that were captured on videos and social media feeds.
Last year, students raised money to buy groceries for families in need, gave money to a custodian to give to a charity in his hometown in Mexico, left large tips on restaurant bills, brought and gift-wrapped presents for kids and hosted a concert with proceeds benefiting Northfield Township Food Pantry.
“Most neighborhoods or communities don’t have campaigns like this, so it’s really special that we have one,” said Key Club president John Schurer. “RAK showed how good-hearted people can be."
The movement caught the attention of Illinois State Representative Laura Fine, 17th District, who adopted the bill and championed approval by the state government. About 40 other state representatives signed on to co-sponsor.
“We want to provide an opportunity where an act of service, which was maybe once uncomfortable, becomes comfortable and routine. With this bill, we have big hopes for how much kindness we can spread this year.”
-- Josh Koo, Key Club Sponsor