Just One Wish Celebrates Kindness
By Juliana Gligoric
Prince of Wales teacher Vandana Verma is preparing to celebrate 150 students at the Just One Wish Kindness Awards that will be held at It’s Your Festival in Gage Park on July 1.
The Grade 3 teacher says the idea for Just One Wish came to her in a dream, back in 2013. Verma wanted to promote kindness within the school to improve mental health. Just One Wish is paired with the school’s mental health action team, Concerned Citizens for Health.
“We all have our own struggles,” says Verma. “A smile and a kind word can do so much.”
To participate in Just One Wish, students are encouraged to think about what they want changed in the world and turn that into a wish. Verma works with students to make these wishes come true. Last year, her students donated to foundations such as Make-A-Wish and Hamilton Food Share.
“It gives them courage and makes them feel so empowered,” says Verma. “What I want them to take away is that determination can make your dreams come true.”
Students are taught to take a critical look at the world, and that no idea is too big. They are encouraged to practice being P.I.N.K. (positive, inspirational, noble, kind) to themselves and their peers every day.
“Just One Wish has made people think before they do, and they have become more kind because of that,” says Liam Thomas, a Grade 3 student in Verma’s class. “One day, Just One Wish is going to change the world, not just our school.”
Verma hopes to promote kindness on a larger scale, and has partnered with It’s Your Festival to hold the Kindness Awards on Saturday, July 1 at Gage Park. She’s excited that 150 students from the Hamilton area will be awarded for their kindness in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.
Students aged 4-18 that practice being P.I.N.K. can be nominated on the Just One Wish website.