Award ceremony held for Genesee County's Blueberry Ambassadors
(05/19/17) - What you get when you combine more than 1,000 Mid-Michigan students with random acts of kindness is a community where its strength are the people who live in it.
Although the program is only in its fourth year, the number of kids participating has increased in both size and scope, showing just how small acts of kindness can make a big difference.
Thirteen hundred students, ranging from fourth through twelfth grade, gathered for an important awards ceremony at Flint's Riverfront Conference Center, recognizing them for performing random acts of kindness throughout Genesee County.
"Pulled weeds and helped plant flowers in front of the school. We made posters for the second graders,” said Kayden Martel, a Blueberry Ambassador.
"Before the school year started, me and my family donated backpacks and school supplies to kids who couldn't get them,” said Sydney Talman, a Blueberry Ambassador student.
The "I'm Concerned About the Blueberries" campaign has steadily grown from just an idea and 100 kids back in 2013.
"We need to start changing the DNA of our kids who Twitter and they Tweet and they Facebook and they Playstation, and we need to get them to look around their surroundings a little bit more. Pay some attention to the little blueberries in people's minds and see how they can help them be a little bit better in our community,” said Blueberry Ambassador Program founder Phil Shaltz.
Students have embraced the concept of becoming involved in helping their community in many different ways, gaining valuable knowledge along the way.
"I think it's really fun helping people out and it's better to make the world a better place," said Blueberry Ambassador Alyvia Bomb.
"It makes me feel like I actually have a purpose. It makes me feel good helping people,” said Dylan Ruhstorfer.
"I'm a very outgoing person. I'm very, I care more about people rather than myself. I just like want to make sure everyone's happy,” said Ash Kathleen.
The awards ceremony Friday was a ‘thank you’ to all that have given their time and energy to helping make Genesee County a better place.
"What's really struck us is that the kids, how they feel about themselves when they do something good. And as you know, when you do something good, it makes you feel good and you want to do it again and again," Shaltz said.
Students "paid it forward" with three acts of kindness throughout the school year.
With summer right around the corner, while many said they look forward to some time off, they also look forward to doing more as Blueberry Ambassadors when the new school year begins.