Each February for the past three years, Do Something, a nonprofit that inspires and trains young community leaders, has invited students to honor the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in the organization's Kindness and Justice Challenge. For two weeks following the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, students perform "acts of kindness" (helping others) and "acts of justice" (standing up for what's right) and report them to their teachers, who post the good deeds on Do Something's Web site (www.dosomething.org). As the following examples from this year's Challenge show, opportunities to do good abound in the moral-dilemma-strewn territory known as school:
"The teacher gave us a big test in a booklet. She didn't mark one of
mine wrong that should have been wrong. When we were going over the
test in class, I raised my hand and told her she had missed it."
—Alexandra, 8, Wisconsin
"The other day I was walking down the hall when a 6th grader fell.
Everybody was laughing at him. So I stopped and helped him up. He
thanked me and said, 'Probably knowbody would of helped me up, knowbody
really likes me.' It almost looked like he had a tear in his eye. Every
day he says hi to me."
—Decklan, 12, Texas
"I opened a door for a teacher to let the principal pass in front of
—Shane, 11, New York
"Jordan gave his writing prize, a lollipop, to Teray because Teray was sad."
—Jordan, 8, California
"I sat with a boy that people don't like, and he had no money for
lunch so I gave him some. I told him it was a gift, and he didn't need
to pay it back."
— Brittany, 12, Arizona
"There was a girl at the teen center who fell and hit her head and
everyone started laughing. I said, "That's not funny! She could die!" I
helped her up, and then everyone felt sorry for her."
— Kareem, 12, Arizona
"I am 15 and on a very successful varsity basketball team. I always
get to play even though I don't start. As we entered the gym Monday
night, I sat at the end of the bench instead of my usual seat because I
know sometimes my coach gets excited and puts the guy closest to him in
the game. My hope was that someone who doesn't normally get to play
would see some action. I was really antsy and almost regretting my
decision because I wanted to play. Then the coach put in a guy who
hasn't played that much. I felt really good when he was on the floor
and he did a great job. The coach eventually found me and put me in the
—Webster, 15, Illinois
"When there was a real fire drill in our school, Mrs. Regan ran out
to her car to get blankets for the students. It was very cold. She even
gave her own coat to a student."
—Mrs. Regan, 30ish, New Jersey
Vol. 11, Issue 7, Page 62Published in Print: April 1, 2000, as Sweet Charity