Kindness has been written in stone as students returned to school on Sept. 4.
For the second year in a row, Shell Scotford’s Fuelling Kindness campaign brought 65 volunteers together in an effort to write welcome notes on the sidewalks around 23 elementary schools in Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan and Bruderheim.
The only local elementary that didn’t see welcome messages from Shell was the new Davidson Creek School, as Elk Island Public Schools had requested Shell let the new facility’s grand opening speak for itself.
Welcoming notes were the most recent Fuelling Kindness initiative by Shell Scotford, as encouraging sidewalk chalk surrounded local elementary schools on the first day of classes.Photo Supplied
Other than that, each Park elementary saw colourful drawings on walkways, accompanied by positive messages, such as, “Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons,” “Believe in yourself,” and “Amazing school year this way.”
“We wanted each team to personalize what they wanted to say, what they felt passionate about, and what they wanted to say to students, parents and teachers,” said Conal MacMillan, external relations advisor with Shell Scotford.
“There wasn’t one unified message, beyond saying we’re here, we support you and we want you to succeed.”
Chalkers took to the streets around 6 a.m., with Shell volunteers accompanied by local politicians.
“I was so happy to be invited by (Shell Scotford) and decorate sidewalks (at Pine Street Elementary School),” Coun. Katie Berghofer wrote on Twitter following the morning rush of kindness.
And the schools were happy to see it.
“I can’t stress how happy we were to see our sidewalks adorned with positive messages to start our day,” Holy Spirit Catholic School tweeted. “To those Shell employees who started spreading joy in the wee hours of the morning, thank-you! We are so blessed!”
Many other schools, including Brentwood and Wes Hosford elementaries, echoed similar sentiments, both noting the positive impact such an initiative has on students as they return to classes.
Throughout the region, similar thoughts were noted, as schools, parents and teachers expressed their thanks.
North of the county, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jessica Littlewood took part in the artistic action, later noting the “important… messages of support” being scrawled for students.
“Small acts have a major impact,” Littlewood said. “Shell continues to be at the centre of our communities by always giving back where they live.”
Bruderheim Mayor Karl Hauch, who also participated in the Fuelling Kindness initiative, added his belief that kindness is contagious.
“Today’s effort to fuel kindness is an effort to help children start their school year off right by showing kindness to others,” he said.
“Sounds corny, but it’s true. It makes a person feel right in this world to try to make a different in the lives of others.”
Last year’s sidewalk chalk flash-fuelling was meant as a one-off surprise to students and teachers, but the seemingly random initiative saw a significant amount of positive reaction.
MacMillan noted the amount of in-person and social media thanks received were part of what contributed to the team being encouraged to take on the Fuelling Kindness approach again this year.
“We’re going to do it again next year,” he already committed to. “And we’d love for everyone in the community to come out and join us, so it won’t be just a Shell thing, but more of a community activity.”
Shell Scotford has been carrying out its Fuelling Kindness campaign through different initiatives over the past four years.