Recognizing that the past year, and particularly the recent election season, has been particularly contentious and stressful, District 205 is working to help students recognize and celebrate the kindness and diversity that is the foundation of our community.

Most of us have probably felt at least some of the election’s stress and anger in some aspect of our lives, real and virtual, but students are particularly vulnerable to that tension. Administrators and students at all Elmhurst schools along with community members are working to combat that anxiety with reminders of the compassion that exists on an individual level.

York High School launched a kindness campaign on Twitter (#kindnessmatters) days after the election, encouraging students to commit random acts of kindness and spread the positive feelings that come from helping others. Individuals and student groups worked on creative ways to “pay forward” niceties and thoughtful acts. Last Friday, York students and staff were encouraged to wear purple (the color that results from mixing red and blue, the colors of Republicans and Democrats) to symbolize their unity and respect despite political differences.

All District 205 schools have award-winning Positive Behavior Intervention Support programs, which recognize and celebrate kindness and caring, while also placing value on diversity, acceptance, and respect. Those programs have been brought forward in recent weeks to remind students of our community’s core values.

Hoping to bring the entire community together, a group of parents and community members are organizing a candlelight peace vigil, which is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 at 7 p.m. in Wilder Park.

Community is the fundamental base of what makes Elmhurst such a great place to live. We hope that everyone feels safe and respected here. As we head into the holiday season, let’s work together to build up that sense of acceptance and kindness.

For more information about any of these programs, please call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.