Ballarat’s Kindness Meters…
Alfredton students start a nation-wide wave of Kindness
Update April 2016
New Kindness Meters have been installed in three more locations across Ballarat; The Ballarat Train Station, Myer corner, and Wendouree Shopping Centre.
The initiative made the news on Wednesday April 20.
Update March 2016
Ballarat’s three Kindness Meters have raised in excess of $900 in the short time they have resided in the Bridge Mall.
A steering team has been formed including students from Alfredton Primary School along with representatives from the City of Ballarat and United Way Ballarat. The team meets to discuss plans for use of the funds raised and for the expansion of the program to other sites around the city, including the Railway Station precinct.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama
Kindness is on the rise in Ballarat!
This past year, my grade 5 students at Alfredton Primary School embraced the challenge to become “Change Agents” and to start a kindness wave across Australia, with the ripple effect beginning in Ballarat. A few months ago I was visiting my hometown in Canada where I spied a unique and intriguing recycled meter. Through chats with friends and colleagues in Fredericton, I was inspired to bring back to my students an idea to start a kindness wave here in Australia, giving new life to an otherwise useless piece of metal.
The students embraced ownership of the Kindness Meter project from day one, enthusiastically researching the needs of their local community through newspapers, chatting with family and friends and searching the internet. Statistics show that Ballarat’s homeless population is on the rise. The city has a number of families and individuals experiencing poverty and/or homelessness. Kindness Meters would be the perfect addition to aiding this local issue.
The Kindness Meter initiative is a platform to bring about change and a wave of kindness to Ballarat. Teaching children the joy in giving, not only at this time of year but every day, is important. We need to empower our youth to be leaders and encourage them to bring about a positive change in our community.
The letter writing campaign began with the first letter sent to the entire Council of The City of Ballarat. Every Councillor was eager to support the students and the Kindness Meter project. Cr. Peter Innes planned a visit to the school, with former Mayor John Philips, to learn more about the Kindness Meters and how they could support the project. They brought along the first rusty old meter to see if it was possible to recycle them. The students saw the meter’s potential and immediately asked for 5 more! The kindness ripple began that day.
Ross Grundell, Coordinator of Parking Services, was our new best friend delivering a total of 6 very old and rusty meters. Families and students worked side by side to sand, wash and paint the meters. Ross and Peter were a constant source of support throughout the project with their much-valued suggestions and contact with the students.
While everyone was counting down the days until school holidays, a very special group of students was counting down the days to the installation and unveiling of the Ballarat’s first Kindness Meter. December 15 will be a very special day in the lives of not only the students, parents, families, Council, and myself but also the entire community who has been brought together through this one act of kindness. We now become a community of like-minded people brought together by a group of 11-year-olds and their passion and determination to make a positive change in the life of a complete stranger.
“I love how one little meter can bring about so much love, kindness, and compassion,” whispered one student in my ear.
Geoff Sharp, CEO of United Way Ballarat, will oversee the collection of kindness from all of Ballarat’s Kindness Meters. 100% of all money collected in the meters will be given to local community groups dedicated to providing services and resources to those experiencing poverty and/or homelessness in Ballarat.
The kindness ripple has started in Ballarat and we hope it has far-reaching effects. How beautiful a day can be when kindness touches it.
Wishing each of you a year full of kindness in 2016!
Judy Jenkins, Alfredton Primary School