David Molak was only 16 years old when he took his life in response to relentless cyber bullying. Molak was a sophomore at Alamo Heights High School and an Eagle Scout. After hearing his story, the Introduction to the Creative Literacy Arts class at UTSA decided to start The Creative Kindness Project.
“David Molak’s death was caused by hatred and could have been avoided,” freshman communication major Gabrielle Hernandez said. “I hope to shed light on the power of words and let people know what impact they have on others.”
The project’s objective is to spread kindness around campus by acknowledging and thanking people for their positivity.
The idea is simple and the gesture is small; however, the message received is powerful.
“One of the goals of this class is to explore the role of a writer in greater society—for example, writers raising awareness for a particular issue or giving back to their communities in some way—and when I read the story of David Molak, I wanted to do something,” said Dr. Cynthia Hawkins, (Department of English) who is the leader of the project. “The idea was that whenever we spotted someone being kind or positive in big or small ways, we’d write down a little note of acknowledgement and pass it on to that person. We printed up very simple ‘kindness cards’ with an explanation of our project on the back and an invitation to ‘pass it on.’”
The goal of this project is to expand beyond the limits of the creative literacy class’ reach, explained Hawkins, who wishes that the recipients of the kindness cards will continue to pass along the uplifting acknowledgements.
“We just started the project, but one of the things we’re hoping for is that the people receiving kindness cards will print out some of their own from our blog and hand them out to others as well,” Hawkins said. “We’re hoping they might report back on their experience so we can get an idea of how it’s rippling out.”
The kindness cards are not limited to the UTSA campus. Students can share posts with loved one. Sophomore biology major Valeria Rodriguez, did just that and sent cards to her parents.
“They both really appreciated it and it felt good to give it to them,” Rodriguez said. “It was the best seeing my mom get emotional over me noticing the little things she does for us.”
Along with ability to show people that their kindness is appreciated, the cards will continue to encourage positivity.
“When I was buying food at a Whataburger, two young women didn’t have the money to pay for their food, but a man who was waiting for his order covered their charge,” class member Albert Montanez said.
“He sort of looked at me funny after I gave him the kindness card, but I think he really deserved it.”
The most important message that the Creative Kindness project is trying to convey is that any small act of kindness is important and it is appreciated.
“It’s so easy to feel like there’s nothing but vitriol and ugliness in the world around us all the time, so it’s been really refreshing to actively focus on the good through this project instead. Someone making someone else laugh, someone throwing something in the recycling bin, anything. It doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering event,” Hawkins said.
For more information on the Creative Kindness Project, including how to get involved, go to creativekindnessblog.wordpress.