Who Are We and What is Ripple Kindness Project?
Ripple Kindness Project designs Social-Emotional Learning lesson plans and activities for primary and elementary school teachers and students.
We are also philanthropists, supporting vulnerable families through our outreach program in Melbourne and various other charitable projects throughout the years.
Hi, I’m Lisa or Lis as most people know me. I started Ripple Kindness Project in 2010 with the support of my soulmate, my husband and two incredible boys.
At the time, we were both emerging from a very emotional place after a traumatic loss that had left us totally depleted. As we started to heal, we realized it was the small acts of kindness that we had given and received during that time that gave us hope and helped us feel better. It was a light bulb moment, and we felt as if we had discovered an amazing gem with magical powers.
The research on being kind began, and we knew that what we learned about this simple, old-fashioned value could change the life of anyone willing to embrace it. We felt an urgent need to share this information and wanted people to be able to “feel” how kindness can improve their wellbeing. And the best part about it was that anyone could change the way they feel because it doesn't have to cost anything to be kind!
Our Ripple Kindness Cards were born! They sported a smiley face because it makes you feel happy when you “pay it forward”. The idea was to distribute the cards in our local community to start a kindness project that would ripple from person to person. We set up a Facebook page to spread the word but had no idea it would reach so far!
You can imagine our surprise when people from all over the world started asking for our kindness cards. We were glad to send them but what happened next set the stage for something even bigger.
Teachers wrote to us about horrendous bullying in their schools and pleaded with us to send them our Ripple Kindness Cards. They had tried traditional anti-bullying programs which hadn’t worked and were desperate to find a way to help their students.
Kindness resonated with them.
Teachers loved the cards, but they wanted a way to infuse goodness and caring into their classroom each and every day. My husband and I both experienced significant emotional trauma as kids so this rang alarm bells for us and an urgent need to protect the feelings and mental health of not just our own children, but every child.
Our experience (and research) highlighted how important positive relationships are. We knew they were the key to happiness and good emotional and mental health, and that altruism was the key to flourishing friendships.
As we researched kindness and positive psychology, we were astounded that it was used in so few schools. This was powerful stuff and seemed like an obvious solution to many unresolved problems. The more we studied, the more convinced we were that this could have a huge impact on not only students but teacher well-being as well!
We knew we had to address issues like low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and anti-social behaviour at the junior level. By providing early intervention, we could help change their outlook to avoid the destructive mindset that can manifest in teenage years when so many catch the “it’s all about me” virus. We wanted to help schools become safe havens with positive role models where vulnerable children could flourish.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) wasn't well known at that time, but we felt it was the future of education and when we combined it with kindness and mindfulness, we knew we had a winning formula.
We created a curriculum that included each of those important elements, including our kindness cards. A module for every primary and elementary year level that could be used separately or as a whole school initiative. It is used in schools in 6 countries.
During all of this, we wanted to be actively involved in spreading kindness in our community, so we initiated several other kindness projects while our cards and curriculum continued to do their thing.
We continue to create stand-alone teaching resources that complement our curriculum to help teachers incorporate SEL into their classrooms. The sale of these resources enables to our outreach, Nourish Network to operate, but we also have a range of kindness resources anyone can download for free.
How we help teachers, parents and kids
Ripple Kindness Project provides an informative blog, character building book recommendations, kindness cards and free printables to inspire people to reach out a hand in friendship, not because they expect a good deed in return but because supporting someone else is a natural thing to do.
Over the years, more than 370,000 Ripple Kindness Cards have been used by community groups, charities, businesses, individuals, and schools to encourage people to start their own ripples of kindness that touch lives to promote love, hope, and peace.
We love to inspire people from all walks of life to enjoy positive experiences by encouraging them to give to a loved one, friend or stranger. And because kindness is contagious, we know, the ripples of joy just one good deed can create is limitless.
Current Community Project - Nourish Network
I was involved in several community groups and on school and council committees that addressed education, community wellbeing, family violence, food security, mental health, and such. They highlighted a dire need in our community, so in 2016, we started our weekly outreach program to support disadvantaged families.
During COVID-19, we adapted Nourish Network to support as many families as possible. We operated a drive-thru food parcel service in lieu of our regular social program.
We also involved the community in creating and distributing 631 hearts and cards to thank frontline workers for their dedicated care during the pandemic.