COLUMBIA, SC — Students at the Columbia Jewish Day School have been pouring through the pages of a new book circulating on campus.
The youngsters are the principle characters in the book that shares stories about greeting newcomers, helping others in wheelchairs, reaching out to the lonely and performing various other acts of kindness.
And this storys ending has yet to be penned.
The school has been compiling Columbias Book of Kindness for the past year. The 1,000-page, hardcover book was designed by Columbia Jewish Day School educator Jane Muller to document and inspire acts of kindness.
Since last February, students and community members have been encouraged to write testimonials in the book about acts of kindness they have shown to others or have received.
The children wanted to give something to the city of Columbia, and at our school, it is kindness that always comes first, said Muller, who founded the school 21 years ago with her husband Rabbi Meir Muller. When you turn the pages, youll see some wonderful things going on.
Muller, a poet and book artist, said while most of her service has been at the school, the book offered her the chance to use her art to bring something meaningful to the greater community. She said she hopes to help young people in particular understand the importance of making a difference where they are, rather than just looking to other acts of kindness.
For them to be good examples to the place that they live I think is crucial, she said.
Those lessons appeared to be catching on at the school in recent days, as a group of students shared some of their stories with each other.
Eight-year-old Will Obradovich shared how he had helped his neighbors with their pet, while 10-year-old Samantha Beckmer designed a page showing how she believes a community should care for its residents, the animals and the environment.
I just want the whole world to have happiness and freedom, Samantha said. When we spread the kindness book around, it will encourage more people to be kind.
Ten-year-old Jack Lamey said the stories shared in the book have inspired him to look for new ways to be kind to others.
It has helped me to remember to do kind things, even if they are not in the book, he said.
Columbias Book of Kindness will be circulated in the next couple of months to various locations in the community, including libraries, schools and art venues in the coming months. At each stop, residents will be invited to share their stories about kindness through poetry, drawings, collages and photographs. The goal is to fill the 1,000 pages before the book is officially presented to the city.
Let your story inspire others, Jane Muller said. Let others inspire you. Its Columbias book.