Monday, 4 October 2010


I am a grandmother, living in Canada.
I have written a few books and have had a nice amount of my stories in the books of others.
That is a truly uplifting experience!
Thought you might enjoy a true story about the art of giving.

Hoping to help children understand bullying, a Canadian school
brought in an education program on that topic.

Following this, one parent noticed her young daughter was having more difficulties at the school. When she wouldn’t play with a friend the little girl was teased and called ”bully”. The mother identified the problem. Many of the school children were possibly too immature for the bully program and had misunderstood the concept. Wishing to help her own daughter and likely many others, the mother, set about to develop 
an amazing new program which might possibly alleviate both the problems.

This is the story then about that creative new program and how with a lot of imagination and determination,
one woman caused 
Children can be keen and mean at gossip. When they are young it is referred to as being a tattle tale. Sometimes embellishment is  even added for the “wow” affect. It gains them attention. They are often too young to make the distinction between what is important to report and what is socially unacceptable. Other children gain the spotlight when they choose bullying. 
Is it possible to alter these actions in young school children? How might one deter the focus from bullying and that of reporting inconsequential tales of fault finding?

Laurie Braun, a concerned and caring mother knew, that given the chance, she could redirect the energies of young school students away from the negative by helping them embrace a positive and new concept. With bold determination, and a lot of imagination this young woman designed a positive action program, earned the confidence of the administrator for the school and implemented the program.

Laurie soon became the igniting force behind an avalanche of kindness in one Canadian elementary school. She set about to inspire and motivate hundreds of children to file reports on one another for their kind gestures no matter how small the deed.

“The interesting thing about it all,” says Laurie, “is that it truly was the little things that they all began noticing.” She picked up two reports at random and read them. 
“When I was by myself, Jeffry sat on the swing with me.” “I slipped and cut myself on the ice and Sara sat with me.” These and other similar reports handed in by the school children eventually soared from the hundreds, well over the thousand mark.

The program itself was simplistic yet insured students would soon be focusing on positive actions and words. The goal for the students was to file reports on one another. The report would include kind deeds they had witnessed or had been the recipient of. Or they could report on kindness shown through thoughtful words.

Laurie’s role was to inspire everyone, first the teachers. They could assist with explanations to students on how the new program worked. Providing inspiration for the students called for Ms. Braun’s artistic abilities. The program design indicated students would soon be focusing on positive actions and words.

“The children revealed a lot about what their concerns are during these early school years. I saw a noticeable pattern regarding the reports, “ says Laurie. “They (the children) spoke a lot about their appreciation for being included, their appreciation for having someone to play with and their relief and appreciation when another student comforted them after a spill.”

The response to the program was magnificent and participation of the students increased weekly. Subsequently the load of volunteer work for this one parent, increased in leaps and bounds. Students had filed sixty reports of kindness, in one week alone. “It became a challenge,” said Laurie, “to fit everything on the bulletin board and to keep it sparkling and colorful. I think the kids loved the glitter of the displays the most!” Ms. Braun devoted well over a hundred and seventy hours working both at home and at the school to prepare materials and build weekly displays to keep the children challenged.

The elementary school took on a conspicuous change. Kids were sharing lunches and opening doors for one another. Kindness thrived! Even the crossing guard at the cross walk was reported for her acts of kindness. “The wonderful thing about this, ” commented Laurie,  “was that the report was put in by a youngster who was so shy he had never even spoken to the crossing guard, although the guard had spoken words of encouragement to this one particular youngster, many times. “ A child who held the reputation of being arrogant was suddenly helping another clean out her desk. One lonely child reported on a classmate: ”
When I needed a friend to play with, she was there.”
The reports went up weekly but not just as ordinary reports, Over the weekend, the innovative and artistically inclined Laurie, chose a theme so that every single report was set on special paper, highlighted with sparkling glitter. One week she placed the names of the youngsters on lightning bolts and another week every report was done on teddy bears and yet another time on little T-shirts, all hanging on a clothesline.

The bulletin board itself was always eye-catching and crowds gathered so that soon parents, teachers and other staff were also gathering around to take in the theme and designs for the new week.

When the school year drew to a close, Laurie took each and every “good deed” report filled in by the students and teachers and attached them to one long continuous roll of paper. Once posted, this was to be the final reminder to all, that little things do make a difference. She chose a time when only teachers were at the school and she and her young daughter literally wrapped the school walls with over a thousand kindness reports.

What was it that motivated this woman? She says “it all came about because I could see some of the younger children in the elementary school were worrying over bullying. Others concentrated too much energy on reporting the wrong choices of others. I was looking for something to counteract this when I came up with the idea of reporting one another on acts of kindness. I sincerely believed and still do that an act of kindness should receive ten times the attention given to a deed that came about because of wrong choices. I wanted my program to encourage both students and adults to focus on the positive, on what is appreciated, not what is annoying or hurtful
The program also had some unforeseen side benefits. The reports often indicated when problems were at hand and Ms. Braun was able to alert the school authorities. “I noticed one week that many of the reports spoke of various individuals being helped up after falling on the ice.” I contacted the school and they were able to alleviate the ice problem.”

On the final day for that school year Laurie asked the principal if the children could leave their classrooms and walk about to view this huge accumulated list of their good deeds and thoughtfulness. The students were told that any reports which featured their name could be taken home as souvenirs. Laurie watched as the excited students gathered around the reports, first reading them, then commenting and remembering and finally reaching to retrieve the reports to take them home as mementos.

"I watched those youngsters that day and felt so proud of their accomplishments. I thought
, Look at the huge quantity of kindness you all gave to one another. You all noticed even the smallest of gestures and you have made such a difference in the lives of one another.” Choked with emotion, Laurie felt the tears and an overwhelming warmth of pleasure for the success of her quest.

Is it possible to alter the actions of school children, to take the focus from bullying and fault-finding? One woman proved that “yes” anything is possible when you follow your instincts and your dreams.

Ellie Braun-Haley
Post Script: Ellie Braun-Haley wrote this story about her middle child. She says, “I’ve always been amazed at Laurie, at her resilience and her determination. I’m proud of her for her willingness to share with others and for the care she demonstrates toward family, friends and even strangers.” She has raised thousands of dollars for the Alberta Cancer Foundation over the past six years. She arranged clothing and furniture for a family who had little. She has a heart that was made for giving!

Braun-Haley lives in Central Alberta.
 She has a number of stories and books published and is the author of “A Little Door A Little Light” a book she was challenged to write following the death of her 17 year old son. Ellie presents talks on the material from the book, hoping to help ease the grief and pain of others following a death.She may be contacted at