ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE)- Kindness speaks to everyone,” said Melinda Forward.
As a teacher in an Albuquerque public school, that’s a motto she brings to school everyday.
“Teachers, we are all exhausted, there’s so much going on, teacher evaluations and testing, there’s a lot of pressure put on us for things that are beyond our control,” said Forward.
She said after seeing some negativity in her school and others she’s taught at, she wanted to make a change.
“If the negativity continues in our schools, more teachers are going to continue dropping out,” said Forward.
She said another problem in the student dropout rate.
“Just the fact that 48% of our kids, like… where do they go? and that is huge for me,” said Forward.
Forward said after a student wrote her a thank you letter, she was inspired. She soon after created the Kindness Club at the school.
“We really give each other ideas on how we can change the school, the community,” said one of Forward’s students, Michelle Soto.
Many students were excited for a different way of thinking.
“Positivity prevails and I think that, that’s an important lesson that needs to be taught in the schools, even though it’s not fully embraced at times,” said another student Alyssa Martinez.
One of the first projects Forward started was the Dream Wall, where anyone in the school could write their hopes, dreams, and give thanks.
“The things they put that they’re grateful for is, sometimes it really hits you,” said Soto.
Not long after, came the 1,000 Thank Yous Challenge. Students could write thank you letters to those close to them. And, it’s that challenge, that got Forward selected to speak at a TED Talk in Albuquerque, April 1, at the Kimo.
Forward said, although her club has made great strides in the school, she does face critics.
“People are skeptical, and we talk about, oh positivity, like really why are we doing positive things in school, we don’t have time for that, I’ve had people say, “we don’t have time for that” we’re too busy,” said Forward.
But she said, that’s exactly why they need these outlets in their school.
“If we just stop for 10 minutes, it can really shift perspective,” said Forward.
Shifting perspectives, into positive futures.