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BARF Week & Kindness Rocks: Senior projects of Arnzen, Kazella focus on empathy, care

Free Press / Lorie Palmer; Contributed
(Left) Grangeville High School senior Kyra Arnzen manned the “Appreciation Station” to send compliments to fellow classmates;  (middle) Olivia Kazella and Arnzen get kids involved at their kick-off assembly for BARF Week mid-October; and (right) GHS senior Kazella shows her “Kindness Rocks” project at Crema Cafe in Grangeville.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Free Press / Lorie Palmer; Contributed (Left) Grangeville High School senior Kyra Arnzen manned the “Appreciation Station” to send compliments to fellow classmates; (middle) Olivia Kazella and Arnzen get kids involved at their kick-off assembly for BARF Week mid-October; and (right) GHS senior Kazella shows her “Kindness Rocks” project at Crema Cafe in Grangeville.



— “Run like a girl. Now throw like a girl,” senior Kyra Arnzen instructed her sophomore brother, Weston.

“What’s with that?” she questioned when Weston skipped and threw sloppily at a recent Grangeville High School assembly.

Kyra tried to get the point across to her classmates that labels and assumptions can be hurtful.

She and fellow senior Olivia Kazella helped put on the assembly in conjunction with student leaders to kick off BARF (Be A Real Friend) Week.

Getting-to-know-you games were part of the assembly that included group and individual activities that focused on communicating with each other.

Arnzen’s senior project idea was given to her by GHS teacher Mrs. Dennis.

“She felt I was organized enough to take on BARF Week,” Arnzen said. “I really didn’t know the time commitment, but it’s definitely been more than the 20-hour minimum.”

Along with the assembly, Arnzen set up an “appreciation station,” where students would stop in during the day and write motivational and encouraging notes to other members of the student body.

“That has taken a lot of time,” she stated, adding her mom helped her with writing names in calligraphy on bags that were used to give out the compliments, candy and treats last week.

“I have also relied on my friends to be a big help – especially with the kids, such as underclassmen, we may not know as well,” she said.

Arnzen admitted her senior project has been stressful at times.

“I cried at least three times,” she said.

However, she does feel it’s been beneficial and has helped her “see things I may not normally see and get to know people in a different way.”

Still, she isn’t sure the senior projects should be so “extreme.”

“Senior year is stressful enough, and the work is almost all out of the regular school day,” she said. “I do like the fact we give back to our communities.”

Arnzen’s advice for upcoming seniors?

“Don’t procrastinate. Get it done,” she smiled.

Olivia Kazella had planned to work with kids for her senior project when things went awry.

“In August I had to totally change my idea and re-do my project that I had already started,” she said.

She saw something a friend in North Carolina was involved with called “Kindness Rocks” and her new project idea was born.

“I like to help and encourage people, and I am artistic and creative, and everything just fell into place,” she said.

Kazella has spent hours painting and writing motivational sayings on rocks, and then spraying them with a clear sealant.

A wine barrel of rocks is located at Crema Café, and passersby are invited to take one and/or leave one.

“They may find one that has meaning to them, or maybe they know someone who needs a pick-me-up,” she said.

Each rock was hand-picked on the Clearwater River, giving the project a definite Idaho feel.

“They are each unique,” she said. “And if someone wants to paint some rocks and leave them – don’t’ worry, they do not have to be perfect. I want anyone to be able to do it.”

Kazella also feels the senior project can be a bit stressful, and it can be difficult to find distinctive ideas for community service in a small town.

“It’s also very time-consuming – way more than 20 hours,” she added.

However, she is glad for the chance to make a difference.

“A little act of kindness can change someone’s day – that’s what I want to pass on,” she emphasized.

Following graduation, Kazella hopes to take some time to travel and explore.

“I’m not entirely sure what I want to do yet, but I want to help people, put others first in whatever it is,” she stated.



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