On the Thursday before February half term (08/02/18), our whole school community gathered together for one of the most inspiring mornings we have had as we were visited by the charity 52 Lives.
52 Lives was set up in 2013 with the aim of helping to change someone’s life every week of the year through the power of collective kindness. Each week, the charity visits one school in the UK to run a school kindness project.
The project delivers a very clear message - 'kindness can change the world' - and through workshop activities intends to spread kindness by inspiring future generations to go out into the world and be kind.
The main aim of these workshops is to empower children by helping them to realise that they as individuals can make a difference to someone’s life by showing kindness and then giving them practical opportunities to change the life of a child in need.
The day began with an introduction to the project by Greig Trout, an inspirational and highly motivational speaker who himself has survived some very challenging health difficulties in his life. A former CSI for the Metropolitan Police, Greig now spends his time promoting his own powerful and positive message of overcoming life's challenges through his website '101 Things To Do When You Survive', as well as facilitating kindness workshops for 52 Lives. Greig told us all about how important it was to be kind and gave various examples of how we could get involved. Importantly, he pointed out the physical and mental health and social benefits of kindness for both ourselves and those around us: it helps us to feel happier, it improves our relationships, it makes for a better and stronger community, it improves our physical and mental wellbeing, and best of all, it is contagious.
Following this message, Greig introduced us to the child we would be trying to support through kindness during the morning. He is child #158 that the charity has supported, five-year old Harry from Duston in Northamptonshire. Harry has had a tough start to his young life but is also one tough little boy. He was born early and underwent life-saving bowel surgery at one day old and suffered countless sepsis infections. Unfortunately, Harry didn’t come out of this unscathed. He suffered from a brain injury, which has resulted in him having a type of cerebral palsy. It affects Harry’s movements, and he is unable to stand or walk without help. This is so frustrating for Harry - he adores rugby, Strictly Come Dancing and P.E at school… all he wants is to take his first independent step. Harry’s parents are currently fundraising for a life-changing surgery for Harry that would help him to walk (it’s not funded on the NHS), but Harry also needs intensive physio treatments to give him the best possible chance at being able to stand and walk. Greig charged Tirlebrook with sending messages of kindness, support and care to Harry in our workshops. What happened next was truly amazing! The creativity, imagination but most importantly kindness (generosity, friendliness & consideration of others) shown by our children was just incredible. It was amazing to see the kindness in each classroom and the quality of what the children produced was just outstanding. The Y3 and Y4 children sang a song from their upcoming show for Harry and the Y6 children developed their own video entitled 'Harry's Rugby Come Dancing' (a link to which can be found on the Elder Tree Class Blog). Children designed and made games for Harry to play, sent pictures, cards and banners, made paper chains and decorations for his bedroom, produced artwork and crafts for Harry to treasure, made video messages of support and the whole school gathered together to send one final message of support at the end of the day by singing 'The Power In Me' on film. We really do hope that our contribution makes a huge impact on young Harry's life. It backs up the message that our school has been promoting about kindness and that School Council will be continuing to promote throughout the year - 'What are the 3 things you can do to live a successful life? 1. Be Kind; 2. Be Kind; 3. Be Kind'.
We received an e-mail from Greig after his visit that included the following comments:
"Good morning! I cannot even begin to express how inspired I was spending the morning with you all.
What an incredible bunch you all are. The messages and gifts the children made for Harry were absolutely wonderful and the song you all sang at the end was the icing on the cake. I had goosebumps watching it, as did Jaime (the founder of the charity) when I showed it to her. We can’t stop singing "P..p..p - Power... P...p....p... - Power" everywhere we go now. Harry and his family are going to be overwhelmed when he receives all this love and support from the children at Tirlebrook Primary. Something tells me he will be watching the Rugby Come Dancing video for a long time to come. Amazing! You have such a wonderful school and your kindness and enthusiasm shines through in the children. Thank you so much for inviting me.
My heart was filled spending the morning with you and I drove home with the biggest smile on my face.
Please thank the children for all they have done for Harry. Love and support is one of life’s most incredible healers and I know Harry and his family will gain so much from everything they have done for him."
That says it all really.
If you would like to contribute to supporting Harry and his family financially, the link to his story is below:
52 LIVES UPDATE
We have received further news from Greig from the 52 Lives School Kindness Project about Harry and the project that we have been supporting. In terms of Harry's treatment, lots of money has been donated towards the cost of the physiotherapy sessions that he regularly needs, which is amazing. Greig has also passed on a wonderful message to us from Harry's family:
"Jaime, we can't believe it! That's incredible! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you and all the amazing people who have helped Harry. You cannot buy the love and support of these beautiful people. We are literally going to frame all of the messages and place them pride of place in our home as a memento of our amazing journey and experience with 52 Lives. Thank you so much."