kindness-starts-with-meWhat does kindness look like? The students of Alta Vista Elementary School created “Kindness Quilts,” comprised of hundreds of individual portraits of kindness, demonstrating unique expressions of kindness at home and at school, as well as ways to be caring to animals, to the planet, and to oneself.

A celebration launch party was held on the evening of April 3rd at Selby Library with about 140 people in attendance. Sarasota’s Mayor Atwell acknowledged these students for the inspiring ways they focus on being kind every day.

At a time when so much attention in the news has been focused on the detrimental effects of bullying, Alta Vista’s Principal Dr. Shirley and Assistant Principal Dehea Smith, as well as the dedicated teachers, counselors and numerous volunteers, instill positive values of empathy, caring, responsibility, trust, and the importance of family and community. Daily acts of kindness are reinforced to inspire the students to become good citizens, but more importantly, to create a kinder, more loving, and accepting world.

Coordinated by Linda Commito, the “Kindness Starts with Me” program at Alta Vista Elementary School has found expression, not only in these kindness quilts, but in a kindness tree, and in smile cards that students hand out to acknowledge each other for the kind things they do. “I have a passion for getting the message of love and kindness out into the world, and I think that the place to start is with children.” says Commito.

Principal Dr. Barbara Shirley expressed, “Our students have become noticeably kinder in their thought processes and we’re seeing a higher level of respect and caring about what’s going on in their classrooms and in the school.”

The motto of the school says it all: “Alta Vista is a great place to be!” Come see why.

Linda Commito
Volunteer and Kindness Coordinator at Alta Vista Elementary School