Helping others is A-OK

Pupils at St Mary's school making friendship bracelets, Callum Stevenson and Courtney McGill. BELOW: Dom Scott.
Pupils at St Mary's school making friendship bracelets, Callum Stevenson and Courtney McGill. BELOW: Dom Scott.
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GIVING up a lunch hour to help others was A-OK for these teenagers.

For the St Mary’s Catholic High School students making friendship bracelets is just one of a long list of activities they are doing as part of a new project inspired by the notion ‘pay it forward’.

Pupils at St Mary's school making friendship bracelets, Dom Scott.

Pupils at St Mary's school making friendship bracelets, Dom Scott.

The youngsters have come up with the Acts Of Kindness (A-OK) project - activities to help and support others.

Stephen Tierney, headteacher said, “Staff, pupils and parents are being encouraged to be kind to themselves, to friends, family and to others, without hoping for any reward.”

Pupils have been wearing A-OK wristbands to show their commitment, with funds from their sale going to support a partner school in Ghana.

And all were sent a postcard with A-OK ideas, such as: encourage somebody, say thanks, send a friendly text, be friendly to someone who gets left out, help parents with chores, make up with somebody, listen, recycle, or pick up litter.

Arpitah Puthenpurayil, 13, from Marton, said: “Now everyone is trying to be kind to everyone. If someone has done something nice we write in on the gift wall.”

Danielle Charlton, 13, also from Marton, said: “Since A-OK started I’ve been helping my mum and dad around the house, I think they’ve appreciated it.

“I gave away my bracelets and people have been doing nice, little things like opening doors for each other. It was better than any other week.

“Now we’re all thinking, let’s stay like this because it’s better than being mean.”

Organisers said the week had as much impact on teachers, lifting their morale.

Mr Tierney said: “This enriches the Catholic ethos of St Mary’s, in which supporting and caring for each other is an expression of our respect for the uniqueness and value of each person.

“I believe students who are well cared for have higher self-esteem and learn better.”

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