Peacemakers Launch Virtual Kindness Challenge


Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Riverhead Peacemakers are once again participating in the 2021 Great Kindness Challenge from January 25 – 29. The fourth grade Peacemakers in both Phillips Ave. and Roanoke Ave. elementary schools have been busy helping their schools, and the rest of the school district, prepare for the annual challenge.

“It’s not only important to remind kids but adults how important kindness is,” says Adelaide Boese, a Roanoke Peacemaker. “Because then you share the good with everyone, reminding them to be the best they can they be and to be kind to other people.”

The Peacemakers created KINDNESS MATTERS signs for each school, with virtual students creating them for their homes. They have also created kindness kits for every classroom. Students once again hope that the community will join in the fun and complete as many kind deeds as they can during the week.  Checklists for both socially distanced and virtual activities are available.

A History of Kindness

The Peacemakers are groups of fourth grade students in Phillips Ave. and Roanoke Ave. elementary schools. Their mission is to prevent bullying through peer-led initiatives. Under the direction of Riverhead CAP social worker Shannon Kutner, the Peacemakers have been participating in The Great Kindness Challenge since 2013. In 2015, they invited all of the Riverhead schools to participate, which resulted in Riverhead being designated a Kindness Certified School District by Kids for Peace. In 2019, they received national recognition when they were named the United for Kindness Award recipients from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. 

2021 Kindness challenge

The 2021 Great Kindness Challenge kicked off with a virtual slideshow for all K-4 classes. The slideshow, created by Riley Ave. School art teacher Melissa Haupt is based on the book, Sincerely, Emerson by Emerson Weber. It includes a video of the author reading the book. The Peacemakers will lead kindness activities in their schools based on the book. These include   writing letters of thanks to essential workers in the Riverhead community.

Community kindness

In 2017, the Peacemakers created a video inviting everyone including businesses, organizations and government employees to perform acts of kindness and post photos of them on social media (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). They are once again asking community members to share their acts of kindness. (View the video here.)

“The students are once again looking forward to community participation in The Great Kindness Challenge,” said Shannon Kutner. “ They can’t wait to see the socially distanced kind acts. They have learned that when we are kind it creates ripples that spread throughout our school, community and world.”

How to participate

Anyone can participate in the Great Kindness Challenge. Download a socially distanced Kindness Checklist here for ideas and inspiration. (Click here for the Spanish version.) Share your acts on social media using the hashtag #GreatKindnessChallenge. You can also tag @RiverheadCAP, so CAP can share your photos with the students. Additional checklists and ideas can be found on our Documents page.