The entire world is navigating an extremely challenging and unprecedented situation in response to COVID-19. While schools are closed here in New York State, you -- teachers, administrators, and school personnel -- have shown such an extraordinary and unwavering commitment to your students.
At the New York State Education Department, we are proud of the way our state's educators have demonstrated unmatched resilience and determination to ensure students continuity of learning. In addition to the stories about your dedication to children, we are overwhelmed by the stories of kindness and love that you as educators and your school communities have shown to students, their families, essential workers, and those in need throughout this crisis.
We want to share some of the many inspiring examples of the ways that acts of kindness are spreading throughout the state to help us all stay connected. Across New York, you as educators are taking thoughtful actions to help others, but beyond that, you are leading by example and encouraging your students to take action to spread kindness themselves.
During this time of social distancing and many unknowns, it is critical that our students know we are still all in this together even when we are physically apart. May is Mental Health Month, and during this time when many members of our communities are feeling isolated, it is especially important to raise awareness and do what we can to help.
One way to help reduce feelings of isolation during this time is to reach out to those who are struggling to help them feel the comfort of their communities around them. There is no better way to feel a true sense of togetherness than to be intentionally kind to other people. A recent study suggests that performing acts of kindness boosts happiness, whether the kindness is directed at someone you know or at a complete stranger. Performing random acts of kindness can heighten our awareness of the things in our lives that we have to be thankful for, something I'm sure we have all been reflecting upon lately.
As educators, teaching your students about the profound impact that even one small act of kindness can have on another person might be one of the most important lessons you will ever teach. I have heard the sentiment that we will emerge from this current challenge stronger than ever before. I believe that is true, but the reason for our strength will be the kindness that we have shown one another throughout this pandemic and the resulting unbreakable community connections that will propel us forward.
Please take a few moments to read the stories below highlighting ways in which educators, students, and communities are spreading kindness, hope, and optimism during this challenging time. Today's stories include a successful video challenge asking students to demonstrate kindness and connections, a creative way for a school community to stay positive, an innovative project to help healthcare workers, and an uplifting story about spreading hope through music performances. If you have your own stories to share, please visit our Submit Your Stories page for additional information.
I hope you, your families, and your school communities are staying safe and healthy. Thank you for all you do.