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Golden Rule moment: A ‘warm’ tale of kindness

Special to Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK

“In 14 degree Fahrenheit weather, you definitely appreciate a nice sweater to keep you warm,” said Sue Shepard, Principal of Ash Creek Elementary. In fact, you’ll even see Little Joe, the school’s service dog, strutting around campus in his new sweater. Read this tale of a Golden Moment that will surely “warm” your heart as it did mine.

It all started with Carolyn Tolby, who has served on the school board for 7 years. As a result of Ash Creek Elementary being “near and dear to her heart”, her brother and his wife, Carter and Kim Reyer, began participating in a yearly holiday act of kindness. Last year they gave winter coats to all Ash Creek students. This year the plan was to give them warm and cozy winter sweaters. However, circumstances beyond their control delayed the intended donation.

“Our lives are a bit upside down right now,” the Reyers communicated to Sue Shepard, informing her of their gifts being delayed until after the Holidays. When Sue told her students, she was surprised by their sincere and sweet response, saying, “That’s ok, we like gifts anytime.” Sue noticed that nobody was upset, and within moments they decided to decorate and write cards expressing empathy and kindness to the Reyers.

Sue noted that since they became a Golden Rule School in 2021, she and her staff have noticed a significant change in student behavior. She stated, “They are showing kindness right back. They are learning that when someone does something nice…to just pass that kindness on, making that person feel special.” Little Joe also notices how students live the Golden Rule by helping him “type” his community posts, because typing with paws can be a challenge. You can check out his recent post about bullying on Ash Creek’s school website: https://ashcreekschool.wordpress. com/ When the Reyers received the students’ thank you cards, they responded by saying, “They (the cards) made us smile for the first time in weeks…made a stressful situation bearable.” And when the students received the anticipated sweaters, which were personalized with Ash Creek sweatshirts and included enough for both students and staff, the students wrote and sent another batch of cards, including a photo of them in their sweaters. This kindness circle continued, as the Reyers once again responded, “What a wonderful surprise! Please tell all the kids how grateful we are for them.” In the photo, the Reyers must have noticed a sweater wrapped around Little Joe, because not too long afterwards, he also received one just his size in the mail.

One act of kindness turned into another and then another. The students considered how the Reyers might feel and in a Golden Moment decided to participate in a circle of kind acts that even their furry friend can appreciate.

Ash Creek Elementary School.

Kendra Ruth

Correction: 2/28/22 – a typo of the sweater donors was made. Their correct name is Carter and Kim Reyer.

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