School-wide service project turns cereal boxes into dominos, helps hunger relief efforts in community
A viral TikTok about a “domino effect of kindness” at one school became the launch pad for Vista View Elementary School’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) work during the month of March. Calling it March Kindness, teachers Jen Gandrud, Jen Houtman and Courteney Ivory jumped on the idea of using cereal boxes to show students how being kind can produce a domino effect.
Vista View’s student council and peer helpers turned their focus to being kind and decided to hold a cereal donation drive for a local food shelf.
The project was a collaborative, student-led initiative. Students decided how to promote the project, with many volunteering to do morning announcements as a video or on the intercom. They visited classrooms every day, collecting boxes and setting up creative displays to motivate students to donate. In the final stage, they built mazes of cereal boxes for the grade levels.
“There were so many great designs, including the letter C for cereal, the numbers 3 and 5 for those grade levels, and a shockingly good figure 8,” said Gandrud. “We even had a heart created by second graders, sending love and kindness to those getting the cereal. The students loved participating and the feeling of giving back and doing something for someone else.”
Throughout the project, students were excited about being able to give back to their community. The more cereal that was collected, the more the students wanted to bring in even more cereal the next day. Students wanted to collect as many boxes as they could before spring break. They didn't want anyone to have to go hungry while school was not in session.
“Our hope was to fill up our local food bank, as well as fill up the hearts of our students and surrounding community,” said Gandrud. “It is important to work together. Kindness can have a domino effect. You do something kind and then the person receiving the kindness pays it forward … and the domino effect goes on and on and on.”
This week, Gandrud dropped off the cereal — 175 boxes, totaling 220 pounds — at 360 Communities in Burnsville. And, it was perfect timing because the shelves were empty, and volunteers could stock the shelves with an assortment of cereal, including kid-favorite brands!