Students perform ‘random acts’Published 10:22pm Monday, December 10, 2012
By Stephen H. Cowles
Special to the News-Herald
Hannah L’Abbe and Jered Dashiell of Isle of Wight Academy know how it feels to be kind to others.
They are among 45 Isle of Wight Academy students who belong to the Random Acts of Kindness Pack, led by English teacher and founder Missie Babb. The middle school students do good deeds ranging from fundraisers to making goodie bags for elementary students.
“This is my second year,” said Hannah, 12. “When Mrs. Babb told us about it, I thought it would be a good idea to join. I like to be nice to people and help them out with other things.”
She said participating in food drives and writing letters to soldiers are some of what the group has done lately.
Jered, 13, has also been involved for two years along with a handful of his friends.
“I thought it would be cool to join it,” he said. “I like helping people. I like being nice to people and making people feel better about themselves.”
“We do food drives, bake sales and give people stuff,” Jered added. “We write letters to soldiers thanking them for all their service. We already did Christmas cards for soldiers.”
Taylor Boyd, who graduated in 2007, is a soldier in Afghanistan, and he asked for cards.
“Actually, we do very planned acts of kindness,” said Babb. “We try to reach out to the community, the school and even soldiers overseas.”
Babb, who teaches English to sixth- and seventh-graders, has been directing the group since 2007. A colleague sponsored a science club, but Babb wanted to do something that would have a greater effect.
Searching the Internet, Babb came across two quotes that inspired her:
“Practice (or commit) random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was one.
The other, “We must be the change we want to see in the world,” is often attributed to Ghandi, a 20th-century leader of civil rights and India’s independence from Great Britain.
Other projects included walking for March of Dimes at Christopher Newport University, making goody bags at Halloween for the Genieve Shelter, giving socks for Mission of Hope and fundraising for the American Cancer Society.
The group also helped the school collect food, water, blankets, diapers and clothes for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Two truckloads were shipped to Highlands, N.J.
In the past, several soldiers have written back to the students, said Babb. A few years ago one sent a video, and later visited the school.
She affirmed the personal reward the R.A.K. Pack gets from activities.
“We say it’s warm fuzzy feeling you get from doing something nice for someone,” Babb said. “The kids really thrive on it. They like to plan their own RAKs.”
Admission requires an essay.
“In today’s world where so many folks are very ‘me-centered,’ I applaud this teacher and this group for thinking of others first,” said Mary-Margaret Wells, IWA’s director of development.
A former IWA student, Babb has been teaching there since 1993. She was a youth group leader at Colosse Baptist Church.