The Youngstown Vindicator – November 24, 2010

Are you a Bucketfiller or a Bucketdipper?

By Kristine Gill   kgill@vindy.com AUSTINTOWN, OH

Students at Lloyd Elementary are striving for the former. Second- and third-graders took part in a presentation Tuesday that encouraged them to fill others’ buckets will good feelings rather than dipping into them and spreading bad feelings.

“We all make choices every day about how we treat people,” said Stacey Lundgren, vice president and lead presenter of Bucketfillers For Life Inc., based in Michigan.

During Tuesday’s visit, Lundgren asked Austintown students to fill in the blanks during a “turbo review” of the concept which she presented at the school last year.

“Everyone in the whole world has an invisible …”

“Bucket!”

“Next to their …”

“Heart!”

“Buckets hold our …”

“Feelings!”

The students in third-grade teacher Pam Percy’s class also were able to recite the Bucketfillers pledge and sing the Bucketfilling song:

I always can choose

It’s up to just me

To fill or to dip

Be sad or happy

Bucketfillers are cool

We’re caring and kind

So go fill up a bucket

They’re easy to find.

“It doesn’t work to dip in someone else’s bucket,” Lundgren said as students listed the negative feelings a Bucketdipper and a Bucketdippee experience.

Lundgren then asked the students in class who are new to the district this year to share stories of their first friendships at Lloyd Elementary.

That’s when 8-year-old Kane Tidswell raised his hand to share the story of meeting Logan Franczkowski, also 8, on the bus.

“She asked me to be her friend and said ‘hi,’” he said.

Logan said she met Kane when she started riding a new bus and sat with him.

“I was the first person who said ‘hi’ to him, and it made him feel good,” she said.

Lundgren concluded the presentation by reading a chapter out of her recent book “True Bucketfilling Stories: Legacies of Love.”

She read the story of Ellen, an elementary-school principal who was new in town and wary of Mr. Archer, her reclusive, elderly neighbor. Ellen’s cocker spaniel, Spud, had taken to using the neighbor’s yard as his bathroom, and in response, Mr. Archer left a bag of the evidence at Ellen’s front door.

Rather than retaliate, Ellen chose to be a Bucketfiller and took to clearing Mr. Archer’s yard of sticks, leaves and other debris. Mr. Archer responded by leaving another bag at her door — this one was filled with homemade soup.

Students got the message and a few laughs over Spud’s bathroom antics.

“It makes a big difference, the choices we make,” Lundgren told students.

Principal Tom Lenton invited Lundgren back to the school a second time this year because her message was simple but strong.

“It’s a good character program without being complicated,” Lenton said.

Lundgren left a plastic beach bucket with the class at the end of her visit encouraging students to list any bucketfilling they witness and collect those moments in the bucket to share later.

“This is a message I am so passionate about because you can feel it in the room,” Lundgren said. “Children love to talk about feelings.”