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Random Acts of Kindness Club at Cedarcrest High School continues its ‘chain reaction of kindness and compassion’

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, RSD

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CHS RAK Club “Make A Difference” at Tolt Commons Park in Carnation. L to R: Cidney Lee, Sabrina Thomas, Bronwen Boyd, Peggy Filer, Brenna Hunt, Yllza Hoti, Yarelli Gonzalez, Jenny Luft, and Nicholas Buckley. In front: Chad Klingenberg. Photo by Linda Cloes
The Random Acts of Kindness Club (RAK) at Cedarcrest High School continues to be an inspiring and popular choice among students at CHS. This year marks number 13 for this remarkable group of teens, and their extraordinary advisor/teacher, Peggy Filer.

Seeds were planted for the CHS RAK Club back in 1997 when then teacher Kerry Gould shared a video from an Oprah broadcast, detailing the importance and dramatic impacts made by those who choose to “pay it forward” with random acts of  kindness.

CHS students Samantha Ritter and Hadley Rose were deeply inspired by the video, and also profoundly moved by the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.  With hopeful hearts, the two girls approached Mrs. Filer with the idea of creating a new club at CHS, one with a mission of inspiring and creating positive, inclusive and meaningful activities which would be available to all students. With that, the CHS Random Acts of Kindness Club was born.Over the years this kindhearted group has participated in an overabundance of humanitarian efforts, which have made a positive difference both locally and literally, across the world.

The list of the club’s compassionate deeds is quite extensive, including: monthly “Pay it Forward” lunches at the Duvall Ixtapa Restaurant, participation in the annual Miracle League Baseball Team games, where RAK students spend a Saturday afternoon playing ball with special needs children and their families, monthly “clean-up Duvall” efforts, where members don their neon orange vests and proceed to pick up trash in downtown Duvall, the CHS campus and surrounding areas, they also organize seasonal food, personal product and clothing drives for Hopelink, which support many local families in need throughout the Snoqualmie Valley, and have inspired the “busted program” at CHS, in which students are “busted” for their kind efforts and their name, effort and photo are added to the school’s website, and in 2012 they raised $3,500.00 to help build a well in Africa.

The endeavors of the CHS RAK Club have been so overwhelmingly significant, that they were given a “Kindness Challenge Award” in 2012 by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation in Denver Colorado, and had the exceptional opportunity to be professionally videotaped and convey their story to Storytellers for Good.

With this experience, their good works and compassionate efforts have now been seen nationally and internationally.

Advisor Peggy Filer explains: “Since the Storytellers for Good video was released, we have received emails from students/teachers at Edmonds-Woodway High School, Vincennes High School in Indiana, Maiden High School in North Carolina and other schools in Irvine, California, and Brazil... all wanting details of how they can  create Random Acts of Kindness Clubs in their schools.”

Peggy expressed that she couldn’t be more proud of her RAK students, and gave  praise to the current RAK Club officers, Maggie Gronberg, Chad Klingenberg, Duncan Robertson and Adam Davenport; their dedication and enthusiasm for this club continues to inspire her on a daily basis.

Currently club members are planning for the Personal Products Drive for Hopelink which will run from November 5th through the 16th this year.  On October 27th, they completed a CHS PTSA sponsored Make a Difference Day effort in Carnation, with a day of clean up and decorating at the Tolt Commons Park, with generously donated seasonal items from Remlinger Farms.

As if all of the above were not enough... this encouraging group of teens has also inspired the creation of RAK clubs at each of our Riverview schools as well. Numerous parent, community and PTSA volunteers are currently working with Mrs. Filer and Duvall RAK founder Connie Berg to help with the implementation of the new clubs, which will continue throughout the current school year.

The following quote from Rachel Scott describes the Cedarcrest RAK Club very well. As with many humanitarian efforts, it may start with one kind gesture,  however you never know how or what a single act of simple kindness will become.

If one person goes out of his or her way to show compassion, it will start a world-changing chain reaction of kindness.

~ Rachel Scott

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