Margaret MacBeth (right) leans in to listen as Grade 3 Watson elementary student Anna Halliday offers to buy her a coffee outside Waves Coffee House in Garrison Village as teacher Kyla Stradling watches on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Two Grade 3 classes from the school were doing their Kindness Project that day. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Watson elementary’s Kindness Projects brings smiles to faces of strangers in Chilliwack

The 40 Grade 3 students bought coffee for people, plus handed out doughnuts and flowers

“Can I buy you a coffee?”

The words are spoken quietly by young Anna Halliday, a Grade 3 Watson elementary student, as she approaches a woman heading into Waves Coffee House in Garrison Village.

The woman, Margaret MacBeth, appears a bit puzzled and initially declines the offer until teacher Kyla Stradling pipes up.

“We’re doing a kindness project,” Stradling said, explaining to MacBeth that the children are in the neighbourhood offering up small acts of kindness to the community.

A big smile comes across MacBeth’s face.

“Oh, how nice,” MacBeth said. “Yes, thank you.”

Waves was one of three coffee shops the 40 Watson students were at buying drinks for people on Thursday. They were also outside Starbucks in Garrison Village and Amble Coffee, a beverage truck located in Vedder Park. Additionally, they handed out flowers and doughnuts, plus dog treats at the off-leash park.

The idea for Watson’s Kindness Project came three years ago on a day in February during kindness month.

Stradling was sitting in her living room with fellow Grade 3 teacher Jennifer Thiessen. They both wanted the kids to go out into the community and actually do something nice for people.

So for the past three years, that’s what they’ve been doing – offering kind gestures to strangers in their neighbourhood.

“It’s powerful. A lot of people will buy us gift cards [to use for the project] or they’ll buy something for the kids. The kids see it go full circle. It’s pretty cool,” Stradling said.

What is the initial reaction when a child comes up to a stranger and offers to buy them something? It’s pretty much exactly like MacBeth’s reaction.

“Confusion… because the kids do all the talking. They are very confused and apprehensive – they don’t want to take money from a child,” Stradling said.

Then they explain that the kids raised the money themselves to do the Kindness Project through cupcake sales and doughnut sales.

For the coffee shops, the students used gift cards or pre-paid Visas to purchase the drinks. After getting a “yes” from the recipient, the student would walk into the coffee shop with them and pay for the drink.

Each drink, doughnut or flower also came with a hand-decorated card with a message by author Kevin Heath written on one side: “No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many.”

Judging by the smiles on the faces of the folks leaving Waves Coffee House clutching one of those handmade cards, Watson’s Kindness Project is doing just that.

RELATED: SPARKS – Lending a hand with no strings attached

RELATED: Kindness through cookies on Hope movie set


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Chilliwack School District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Grade 3 Watson elementary student AJ Wood offers to buy a woman a coffee outside Waves Coffee House in Garrison Village on Thursday, March 12, 2020. Two Grade 3 classes from the school were doing their Kindness Project that day. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Watson elementary Grade 3 students (from right) Callie Jones, Anna Halliday and AJ Wood make a sign for their Kindness Project outside Waves Coffee House in Garrison Village on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

The kids also made and decorated these cards to hand out to people. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Police seek suspects allegedly using counterfeit cash at Hope gas station

RCMP say the two suspects attempted to pay with 100 and 50 dollar bills

Truck company hands out thousands of free lunches to truck drivers with local stop in Chilliwack

International Trucks is at 50 fuel stop locations across North America giving away free meals

COLUMN: Let’s avoid public shaming amid a dynamic health crisis

What is unacceptable today might have been fine last week

UFV student nurses offering respite to frontline nurses, care aides

Website helping to match volunteers with those who need help with daily errands

VIDEO: Head-on collision on Chilliwack Mountain Road

Road blocked in both directions Thursday morning

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

Most Read