Be Kind: Student businesses pay it forward with help of donation

POUGHKEEPSKIE, New York (WABC) -- It started out as a virtual class assignment during the pandemic, but it caught the attention of our Be Kind initiative.

Middle school teacher Jonathan Shanks instructed his 7th-graders to create businesses that would also give back.

The businesses included a bracelet company that funds a homeless shelter, a sports ball firm that funds after-school programs, and an app that helps families better manage the money they spend on groceries.

A business professional invited to speak with the class was so impressed she donated $10,000 so that each student could use $100 for their own personal act of kindness.

Eyewitness News asked three students how they spent the money: one helped served 90 meals at a soup kitchen, another donated 10 personal hygiene kits to a homeless shelter, and third donated to the Poughkeepsie Police Department to show his appreciation.

"I did what I would l like to see other people do," 7th-grader Ohm Patel told Eyewitness News.

For 13-year-old Jacqueline Gill, being kind was empowering.

"Because many of us just thought like, we're just a kid, we can't have that much of an impact, but with all the acts of kindness, it really made me realize we really did have an impact," Gill said.

Shanks says he couldn't be more proud of his students.

"They see the world through the lens that adults need to hear," Shanks said.

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----------Don't forget to #BeKind. For more stories of kindness, check out our "Be Kind" campaign page and follow our Facebook group. Let us know if you see someone doing something kind by filling out the form below:
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