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March 6, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: ‘Kindness Project’ is inspiring

BY MARK BOSHNACK STAFF WRITER Colleen Andrew’s second-grade class is working on its kindness project. In December, students handed out Hannaford gift cards to people on Main Street telling them to “have a nice holiday and pay it forward,” Andrew said.

“I saw how excited they were in December, and I needed a way to tap the motivation they got out of it,” she said. When the class was getting ready to do its February random acts of kindness project, it had read a book about how large 1 million was, she said. In response, the class wanted to raise $1 million.

But she suggested “wouldn’t it be cool” if the class started a Facebook page and got 1 million fans, she said. So far, they have attracted more than 15,000 fans to the site “Mrs. Andrews 2nd Grade-Kindness Project.”

“It’s nice to see their reaction,” she said.

When one of the students questioned how they would know if the Facebook fans carried out their projects, “we just have to have faith that people will follow through with it,” she said.

“The energy it generates now is really good,” she said. At some point it will probably die down. The Facebook page will stay up as long as it’s effective, she said.

“I hope we get to 1 million (fans),” 7-year-old Ava Eichler said.

She said when the project started, she thought it would be year before they got to 100. The Delaware County Dairy Princess, Katelyn Walley, 17, has made the most of her opportunity. She was chosen as second alternate at the state Dairy Princess Pageant in February.

“You go all over the state” talking about the importance of getting three servings of dairy products a day, she said.

She will be busy most every weekend, but she doesn’t mind because she has a good excuse to avoid chores on the Walton family farm, she said. Her first appearance was before the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, shortly after she was chosen, thanking them for their support. The United Way of Delaware and Otsego Counties received $5,286 from the recent Goodyear Lake Polar Bear Jump. This was the first time the agency benefited from the local fundraiser, United Way Executive Director Terry Capuano said.

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