The year of kindness for kids celebrates kindergarten to fifth-grade children in March

Tayler Shae and Becky Roth

We are all co-creators of our community.


Each of us bring our interests, beliefs, our unique talents, our history and culture, our challenges and needs to our neighborhoods and community. It’s the beautiful mix of all of these things that make Juneau unique and special.

When we reach out to others to listen, appreciate and engage in conversation, we can truly connect and build a stronger community.

R.O.C.K. Juneau (Raising Our Children with Kindness) is a collaborative committed to improving access, equity and resources for a healthy childhood and young adult life for the young people in our town. We are co-creating the conversations that will build strengths and resilience for all of us, particularly kids.

R.O.C.K. Juneau is hosting the Best Starts initiative that’s working to increase pre-kindergarten classes in schools and develop sustainable and high quality childcare options for families. We’re also a part of steps to increase the community’s dialogue regarding racial equity. These actions and efforts improve the strength of Juneau.

March represents our third month in building a Year of Kindness for Kids … raising our awareness and engagement with demonstrating support for our community’s terrific young people. March’s focus is on children in grades K-5.

Join us in listening to, appreciating and engaging with young elementary aged kids. They are full of wonder and interest, just learning how to work and play in groups/teams, and they need us for guidance and support.

The website ( has a list of “100 + 18” ways to show kindness. Number 29, for example, is to tell your child’s principal just how great your child’s teacher is. Number 77 is to teach your child to save their money. Think about savings, plus giving, plus spending. If you don’t have a young one in your life, try number 28 — wave to kids on a school bus!

Big Brothers/Big Sisters here in Juneau currently has about 65 matches and they are always looking for adults (singles or couples) who are willing to make at least a one year commitment to a young person. If this interests you, call John Maddox at 586-3350.

R.O.C.K. Juneau has received many notifications of kids’ acts of kindness across our elementary schools. Glacier Valley students have a paper “kindness tree” in their hallway, and each time a student notices or experiences an act of kindness, they add a leaf to the tree with the person’s name on it. They’ve had to extend the tree’s branches halfway down the hallway to fit all of the leaves! Harborview students and volunteers Laisne’ Waldron and Kayla Harmon are sewing pillows for the Juneau warming shelter. Students at MRCS are collecting silverware and mugs for the Glory Hole. Riverbend students are selling popsicles to raise money to help build playgrounds in Puerto Rico, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Gastineau school hosted a cocoa and books night for their families. Auke Bay students collected coins to benefit the American Heart Association. Juneau is raising aware, sensitive and engaged students.

We’ve heard that several schools are interested in building a lunchtime mentorship program for students. If you’re able to make a commitment, please call the principal nearest you.

Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) is a tuition-free music program that helps young people develop focus, self-control, leadership skills and teamwork through practicing and performing as part of an ensemble. Students experience success through community performance and daily practice, and understand that effort and persistence help them overcome life’s challenges. JAMM students are also exploring song writing. Students collaborate to write, perform and professionally record their own songs. JAMM is seeking donations for equipment to outfit a recording studio. If you’re able to contribute, please contact Lorrie Heagy at 780-1420 or donate online through

Kindness, connection, conversation, and opportunities to learn and grow — these are the ingredients every child needs.

As Ayesha Siddiqui said, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” Let’s work together to make Juneau a great place for kids.

• Tayler Shae is the Early Literacy Outreach Coordinator with Association for the Education of Young Children and Becky Roth is the coordinator for R.O.C.K. Juneau. They can each be contacted at


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