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LOOK: Elementary students spread kindness through free hugs on Fridays

In Deltona, Florida, a Friday morning means being greeted by a group of elementary school students giving out hugs and smiles to those fortunate enough to come across the “Kindness Squad.”

Fourth-grade students from Pride Elementary School, along with anyone else up for spreading kindness, line up on a curb in front of the school every Friday to greet other kids, as per The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

kindness squad
The Kindness Squad’s Friday morning smiles. Image: Facebook.com/HeadOverHeelsForTeaching

“Without the world being kind, we would just be mean people,” 9-year-old Kaylah Navarez told the news outlet.

With greetings accentuated by mini pompoms, music and cheerfulness from the Kindness Squad, students and parents alike give smiles in return, making the city a little kinder and the school a little happier.

kindness squad
Image: Facebook.com/HeadOverHeelsForTeaching

Teacher Joanne Miller started the squad to teach kids the value of kindness and to fight off bullying. The squad was formed last year with her former fourth grade class. The group still exists but now with members from her current class.

“Kids aren’t born with kindness. You have to teach it,” Miller said, taking to Instagram on Oct. 5 to share a peek of what really happens every Friday at the school. Unsurprisingly, it turns out to be fun.


“Happy Friday!! My Kindness Squad (students in my class) greets the students at the drop off loop on Fridays! Such a great way to start your day…with a SMILE!” Miller proudly said.

“It brings a smile to my students faces too when the kids getting dropped off start dancing with them or the parents honk their car horn because they’re excited about the greeting!” she pointed out. “Every day should start with a smile!”

The squad’s valiant efforts to spread kindness was featured on the cover of TIME for Kids magazine, Miller also shared on Instagram on Oct. 24.

“So proud and honored for my Kindness Squad to be featured on the cover of @timeforkids! My students are realizing quickly that small acts lead to big acts of kindness,” Miller said. “We have to teach kindness and it’s a priority of mine to make sure my students have opportunities to ‘be kind.’ Kids can make a difference!”




As Miller’s 9-year-old student Luis Toro summed it up in the report: “It’s pretty easy to be kind… Just a small thing that’s kind could spread all around the world.” JB


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