KATHRYN PRATER • KPRATER@LSJ.COM • FEBRUARY 23, 2010 – LANSING STATE JOURNAL, LANSING, MI

EAGLE – Wacousta Elementary School fifth-grader Nick Goebel said he’s planning to open doors for other people more often.

His classmate, Kaitlyn Barr, said she’ll hand out more compliments and invite lonely looking students to join her games.
The two 10-year-olds and the rest of the Grand Ledge-area school spent two days last week learning about the value of building up others through acts of kindness.

The 340 kindergartners through fifth-graders participated in a program called “Bucketfillers for Life,” which included lessons focused on the theme that people carry invisible buckets containing their feelings. When someone’s bucket is full, that person feels good, but when the bucket is empty, he or she feels empty.

The program encourages kids to become “bucketfillers” – those who fill other people’s buckets by doing kind things for them.

“I’m going to encourage people to be nice to everybody,” Kaitlyn said. “The world can be a nicer place, and we can all be friends instead of fighting.”

Each classroom will keep an actual bucket for kids to fill with items reflecting their kind deeds.

“The whole bucketfilling concept is very simple but yet very powerful: Let’s fill each other’s buckets,” Principal Scott Eckhart said. “I hope our school will do an even better job of treating each other with respect and kindness, and we will think about ways to do nice things for each other every day.”

The school’s Parents and Teachers in Action organization donated $1,500 for the training by Howell-based Bucketfillers for Life Inc.

“This will help with issues such as bullying …” Eckhart said. “I don’t think we have a problem with bullying, but there isn’t any school that’s immune to that kind of behavior.”