Operation Kindness helps lift spirits at LHS

Feb 6, 2020 by

Published February 5, 2020

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Operation Kindness is a small club making a big difference at Lynnfield High School.

The club started around six years when former LHS student Jess Infioriati approached English teacher Stefanie Marcoux and foreign language teacher Jodie Leibowitz about starting Operation Kindness and having the two educators serve as the club’s advisors.

“Jess was interested in doing nice things around the school,” said Leibowitz.

Operation Kindness currently consists of President Anna Sidiropoulos, Vice President Anthony Spinella, and club members Kyle Delaney, Ava O’Brien, Ella Gaudette, Gianna Spinella, Kayla Tracy, Samantha Bunar, Emma Condon, Anna Radulski and Lauren Lim.

“I enjoy being part of this club because we get to spread kindness to everyone in the high school,” said Sidiropoulos, who is a junior at LHS. “It helps everyone be happier.”

Leibowitz said Operation Kindness diligently works to raise students’ spirits throughout the school year.

OPERATION KINDNESS members, from left, Kyle Delaney, Club Vice President Anthony Spinella, Gianna Spinella, Kayla Tracy, club advisor Stefanie Marcoux, club advisor Jodie Leibowitz, Club President Anna Sidiropolous, Samantha Bunar, Emma Condon, Anna Radulski and Lauren Lim are making a positive impact at Lynnfield High School. Missing from photo are Ava O’Brien and Ella Gaudette. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

“We start every year by putting Post-it Notes on all of the freshmen’s lockers,” said Leibowitz. “They are encouraging notes that say things such as keep on swimming or believe in yourself. The notes are very encouraging.”

Operation Kindness has also written letters to U.S. soldiers by working closely with Operation Gratitude. Marcoux said the club coordinates the high school’s stocking drive as part of the Lynnfield Middle School Gift Drive each December.

“Middle school teacher Patricia Hazelton reached out to Jodie and I years ago, and we ended up having the club organize it,” said Marcoux. “We tried organizing the drive through Compass, but that didn’t work.”

Operation Kindness Vice President Anthony Spinella said the club assigns each homeroom a different family.

“Each homeroom collects donations over the course of the month,” he said. “We collect all of the gifts before holiday break and organize them. We then send the stockings to the middle school.”

Marcoux said, “Distributing the stockings by homeroom ended up working out very well.”

“It has become a well-oiled machine, but it is a lot of work,” said Marcoux.

Leibowitz agreed.

“The kids did an incredible job this year,” said Leibowitz. “It’s a lot of work and it can be a little chaotic, but everyone is very generous. Everyone works together to pull it all together.”

Leibowitz said Operation Kindness’ next initiative is painting inspirational messages in girls’ restrooms.

“We got a Lynnfield Educational Trust grant for that,” said Leibowitz. “The groups are going to start painting soon. We have divided it up into four groups.”

Marcoux said the paintings will include different themes such as feminism, historical women and nature.

“Each restroom is going to have a different theme,” said Marcoux. “It has taken a lot of planning and organization because the whole process of painting a restroom sounds so simple, but it is really not. We can’t paint the stalls because we would have to sand everything down, so we had to look into a different avenue. We decided to just paint the walls.”

In addition to the initiatives Operation Kindness has undertaken this year, Leibowitz said the club hosted a fundraiser last year where the students raised money to buy two water filtration systems to send to families in Guatemala. The fundraiser started after Leibowitz returned to LHS after embarking on a mission trip to Guatemala with her son, Ben, and his Westfield State University classmates.

“That is a big deal because it sets up two families with clean water for 10 years,” Leibowitz said.

Leibowitz said she enjoys working with the students involved with Operation Kindness.

“They are a great group of kids,” she said.

Marcoux echoed Leibowitiz’s viewpoint.

“They are great kids with great attitudes,” said Marcoux.

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