It's RAC Week, be prepared to be kind

School District 43 celebrates 10 years of Real Acts of Caring

Maple Creek middle school students involved in RAC Week this week were just toddlers when the idea first originated in School District 43.

Now, they are ambassadors for the idea of doing something nice for someone without expecting anything in return.

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It's been 10 years since Real Acts of Caring Week was introduced to SD43 (originally as Random Acts of Kindness Week) and, during that time, RAC has spread across the province, generating thousands of kind activities, such as buying coffee for people, handing out flowers and cookies, giving blankets and food to animal shelters, packages to homeless shelters and visiting seniors' centres.

And last week, approximately 22 Maple Creek students went to Victoria to hear RAC Week proclaimed for the entire province.

"It was really amazing to be there," said Dasom Kim, a Maple Creek Grade 8 student who was on the trip.

"I kind of felt I was dreaming," added Jacob Wylie, also in Grade 8.

Not only did they get to sit in the packed legislature, which opened for its spring sitting last Tuesday, but they got to meet Premier Christy Clark and have pictures taken with her.

But the biggest excitement for the teens was to see RAC promoted across B.C.

It has been a labour of love for the students and their counsellor, Harriette Chang, who have been part of a promotional effort to spread the word. There are RAC groups across the district, including at Kwayhquitlum middle school, and posters have been sent to every school district in the province.

There is also a website, and a contest for the best RAC photo and story, with the best submission winning a $500 prize. RAC is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Chang said RAC has been found to create feelings of safety and connectedness in schools, and has been mentioned as a positive strategy to end bullying.

"We feel it really complements our anti-bullying program because it redirects kids to do more positive actions," she said.

But the proof is also in the smiling faces of some of Maple Creek middle school's 164 student "RACers," who have been doing good deeds throughout the entire year.

"RAC is a good thing and hopefully it encourages people to be kind," said Grade 7 student Aleena Samji.

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