Joliet Central and West High School students will mark Leap Day this week by “leaping into service,” a campaign intended to encourage high school students to pay it forward. The schools are empowering students to make a difference in the lives of others by using an insurance company’s program that promotes random acts of kindness through the simplest of gestures.
All the students at both schools will receive a wooden token that encourages people to perform an act of kindness for someone and then pass along the token to that individual. This concept that one token can start a chain reaction of kindness was created by Aviva USA, a life insurance and annuities company whose U.S. operations headquarters is in West Des Moines, Iowa.
The token program is part of what Aviva calls Youmanity, a blend of the words “you” and “humanity.” According to Aviva, Youmanity is the belief that one person, you, can make a difference through an act of kindness, big or small.
The concept will be presented to the students and they will receive their tokens Wednesday between 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. at Joliet West, and Joliet Central students will receive their tokens Thursday between 10:20 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.“This concept is simple and fits perfectly with our strategic plan and the JTHS character attributes,” said Joliet Township High Schools superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy. “We’re excited to see what happens with the tokens and how big of a difference our students can make individually and collectively. We’re hoping it translates into multiple acts of kindness that make an impact on people’s lives throughout Joliet, the Chicago area and beyond.” The two schools’ nearly 6,000 students and staff members will receive a Youmanity token that includes a tracking number, allowing the recipient to register the token either on Aviva’s website or its Facebook page.