Round Rock students raising money by paying forward random acts of kindness

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ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Students at Cactus Ranch Elementary School are raising money through their school’s PTA not by walking laps or selling anything, but by paying forward random acts of kindness.

PTA fundraising chair Carrie Thayer came across the idea when she was researching outside-the-box ways to bring donations into the school.

“The kids have been so receptive to this whole concept,” she said.

It’s been so successful, the students hit their $20,000 fundraising goal several days before the campaign ends on Friday, Oct. 11. As of Tuesday, students had collected more than 5,000 acts of kindness — five times their goal.

Students at Cactus Ranch Elementary School see reminders all over the school to be kind, like this anonymous note thanking someone for being a friend when the student was going through “hard times.” (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

The fundraiser runs through the company Raise Craze. Families register for their school, then send out invitations to donate to friends, family and community members.

In return, the students promise to pay the generosity forward through acts of kindness.

“I think it’s just really made everyone aware of how to be kind,” Thayer said. “The small, little things you can do just trickle down and it just kind of creates a culture of kindness.”

Reminders are posted throughout the school to reiterate the importance of being kind. Students write down the acts of kindness they see and post them on bulletin boards and they’re helping decorate the fundraiser’s mascot, Cactus Carl, by adding a colorful spine every time they log five acts of kindness.

Carrie Thayer, the Cactus Ranch Elementary School PTA fundraising chair, positions Cactus Carl in the office. (KXAN Photo/Chris Davis)

Saumya Mathur, a 3rd grade student at the school, is taking the campaign’s message to heart.

“One act of kindness can spread,” 8-year-old Saumya said. “And it makes your world colorful.”

She and her fellow students are out to prove that no act of kindness is too small. Saumya wrote cards for her teacher and bus driver (and is planning to write one to her mail carrier, as well) and helped another girl who got hurt on the playground.

She also donated her clothes that didn’t fit anymore to Round Rock ISD’s community closet for those in need.

Students can make lists of acts of kindness they want to try out in the Raise Craze system, then check off the ones they complete.

“But sometimes we also like to do acts of kindness that are not on our list just to show some generosity,” Saumya said. “If it makes other people happy, then that makes me happy.”

School leaders want the culture of kindness to persist long after the fundraiser comes to a close this week. Saumya sees the big picture.

“If I give kindness to them,” she said, “they’ll give it to someone else then they’ll give it to someone else and else, and it’ll just go all over the world.”

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