Small Smiles is a club at Mt. Vernon High School that works to uplift students and staff. This student-led group has created several projects, but the most recent one has been a “Gratitude Wall” that displays what students and staff are thankful for on a banner in the hallway.
“The gratitude wall was a project geared towards creating a spirit of thankfulness within the school,” said Abigail Maple, the student president of Small Smiles. “All of the items on the wall were written from student and staff submissions.” The “I am thankful for” banner has student and staff answers such as “friends,” “school,” and “bacon.”
This is not the Small Smiles club’s first gratitude project. Last year, the club created thank-you posters for all of the staff members at the high school. This year they started with a teacher appreciation lunch where Amazon gift cards donated by the “Shelby Foundation for Kindness Delivered” were given to Mt. Vernon High School teachers. They have also completed a contest for students to submit fun school pictures and win a token prize. Each project they do works to uplift and engage students and staff.
“Small Smiles aims to promote a happy and healthy school environment,” said the staff sponsor of the club, Karen Riesterer. “I am proud to be a part of this team!”
The club was started at the end of the 2019-2020 school year at the beginning of the pandemic in an effort to lift people up during stressful times. The members have then continued to produce a service project each month in hopes of making people just a little bit happier, hence the name “Small Smiles.” Each month they start with an idea and create an uplifting project with the help of all of the members.
The club has shown that with an idea and a bit of effort, students can make a difference in their community. The members have managed to help staff feel appreciated, spread the feeling of gratitude, and brighten people’s days, even if it is just by a small smile!