Transcription of Interview:
Ruth Bigus: [00:00:00] . Welcome back to KC cares, Kansas city’s
Jill Anderson: [00:00:06] nonprofit voice,
Ruth Bigus: [00:00:09] and we’re back here at the Plaza library. Great places used to be. We just had a little one peeking in at us, so it’s so fun to be here. We’ve talked about culture, we’ve talked about
Jill Anderson: [00:00:20] refugees
Ruth Bigus: [00:00:21] and helping them, and now we’re into youth. So we’ve got it all today.And our guests for this segment are from the kindness youth leadership team of seven days. We have Jill Anderson, who’s the executive director of seven days of the welcome Jill, and with
Jill Anderson: [00:00:37] her is Georgia Winfield,
Ruth Bigus: [00:00:39] who’s a team member.
Georgia Winfield: [00:00:40] Yes,
Ruth Bigus: [00:00:41] Georgia is the slightly more youthful
Jill Anderson: [00:00:43] of the two. Yes. We’ll go with that.
How’s that? That works.
Ruth Bigus: [00:00:48] And it’s so exciting. Joe, let’s dive in first and tell us what is seven days?
Jill Anderson: [00:00:52] So seven days was started five years ago. Um. Unfortunately, due to some murders that happened in the Kansas city metropolitan area. Um, the founders, Mindy Corporan and her mother and brother, um, Melinda, um, wanted to make something positive from something that was horrific when they lost their, um.
Two of their family members, Reed and bill. And um, so they started to seven days, which is all about kindness and really trying to show the world that, um, you can turn something bad into something good, that you can have positive people in the world that aren’t, um. Driven by hate and aren’t, uh, misunderstanding somebody else because of their religion or color of their skin or any of the differences that exist, um, that really should be celebrated.
Ruth Bigus: [00:01:48] So in that realm, what does seven days. Do what are their programs? Activities?
Jill Anderson: [00:01:56] Absolutely. So seven days, every year has had literally seven days worth of activities in a row. So, um, it’s always held in April. It’s a different week in April because we try really hard to be, um, cognizant of different religious, um, backgrounds and not, uh.
Overshadow anything. Um, so the week changes, but it’s always an April because that’s when the murders happened. And, uh, we have seven events in a row, each based on a different theme and the themes. Uh, the first day is always our love day. The second day is always all our discover day. Then we go to others and we focus on taking care of others and discovering a little more about others.
Um. Then we work on connecting. Then you day, which is all about taking care of ourselves. Um. Then go and it’s talking about getting out there and doing something. And then onward, which is what is our onward going to be? How are we, after practicing for seven days, kindness based on those seven themes? How are we going to continue to do this for the next year?
Um, and we give a variety of, of, um, activities that really are concrete ways that people can start to make a difference in their own world. And our hope is that those, each person making. An effort makes a ripple, and each of those ripples become bigger and bigger and move further out into the community.
So that the end goal is that people know each other and understand that because I don’t have the same religion or look the same as you, I still have something in common with you. We’re all humans. And, um. So that’s a really important part. Um, and, and it starts young. It’s not something that is just for adults.
It’s something that we understand that learning at a young age, um, how to interact and celebrate others is, is a key part to growing up in a world like that.
Ruth Bigus: [00:04:01] So how is this all put together and how do we get there?
Jill Anderson: [00:04:04] The youth with Georgia here. Yes. So, um, it’s put together, uh, one of the things that we do is focus on, on youth and getting the teenagers in the kind of Kansas city metropolitan area too.
To buy into what we’re talking about and then help us spread it. They are the future and they are, if we can get them to lead, not only in our group, but to start pushing it out to their friends, their clubs, their schools, and then it really does make that ripple effect. And so we started making this kindness youth leadership team a few years ago.
Um, we’ve always had some. Kind of interaction with youth and leadership going on. But in the last two years, it’s turned into this kindness youth leadership team, um, that we were able to kind of have a twofold thing. One is where we are helping. Them mentoring them into how do you help a nonprofit, how do you get involved in the community?
Um, and then they’re helping us gain awareness of, all right, what are we going to do? That’s gonna make sense too. Teenagers in the Kansas city area. And so Georgia is somebody that’s been a part of us, uh, of, uh, kindness youth leadership team for two years now. This is her kind of returning year and is, uh, really kind of stood out from the beginning, is somebody that wanted to really get involved.
Um, she was actually. Her first year, she was scheduled to be in one committee and came up to me afterwards and said, I am happy to do that, but that’s kind of something that’s early on and is there any way I can do something else also? And I was like, well, this girl’s a go get her. She’s awesome. And so, um, we thought she’d be the perfect one to kind of talk a little bit more about what the kindness youth leadership team members actually do because she’s, we’ve been able to utilize her in so many different ways.
Ruth Bigus: [00:06:03] Georgia, tell us a little bit about, you. Where’d he go to school? What are you involved in? What are your interests? So we know about Georgia,
Georgia Winfield: [00:06:11] so my name is Georgia and I go to Saint Theresa’s Academy. I’m a junior. Um, so my interests are running. I ran cross country
Jill Anderson: [00:06:18] for my school
Ruth Bigus: [00:06:19] and you’ll see pictures of her.
She is fit and lean and you can
Jill Anderson: [00:06:22] tell she runs. Thank you.
Georgia Winfield: [00:06:24] Um, and I am the president of FPLA at my school and I started a journaling club this year to kind of help people express themselves.
Ruth Bigus: [00:06:32] Wow. So how did you get connected then with seven days in the kindness youth leadership team?
Jill Anderson: [00:06:38] I was fairly
Georgia Winfield: [00:06:38] familiar with seven days.
Um, I had been to some of the events in the past and it was brought to my school, but once I got into high school, they sent out the opportunity through an email, one of the academic counselors. And so I applied and I thought the message was really great. And I got in.
Ruth Bigus: [00:06:54] What were some of the events that you went to early on and what was it that you said, I want it.
Be part of this.
Georgia Winfield: [00:07:00] I think we had a couple of speakers come to my high school my freshman year, as well as in grade school, talking about interfaith relations and just the message of seven days. And so that really got me interested.
Ruth Bigus: [00:07:12] Tell us a little bit about what you do as a member of the kindness youth leadership team.
Georgia Winfield: [00:07:17] So as a member, I attend, uh, meetings for the events. Uh, we have like event chair meetings as well as kind of youth leadership team meetings where both of them would just discuss the events that are going to happen, how we can promote seven days and within my certain committees this year, I’m on go day and the kindness art show.
Um, we have meetings outside of those where we plan the events and get everything prepared.
Ruth Bigus: [00:07:41] And the kindness art show is going to be right here at the Plaza library.
Jill Anderson: [00:07:44] Yes. It’s
Ruth Bigus: [00:07:45] really exciting. All right. Teenagers are busy. Lots going on. My kids used to be teenagers, you know. How do you talk
Jill Anderson: [00:07:55] to your
Ruth Bigus: [00:07:56] fellow students or maybe friends even outside of
Jill Anderson: [00:07:59] school,
Ruth Bigus: [00:08:01] you know, how do you share this kind of message.
What do you get back in likeness?
Georgia Winfield: [00:08:07] I think that, um, a lot of my generation is really open to these new ideas and to the ideas of kindness, um, which is really awesome. So everybody’s really receptive. And I think through social media, through my own social media and the social media of seven days, the message has really spread, which is great.
And there’s been a really positive, um, outlook from the people who’ve received it.
Ruth Bigus: [00:08:28] Jill, on the, the leadership team, how many kids are there and how do they get involved?
Jill Anderson: [00:08:32] I mean. Right. Good questions. Um, so the way they get involved is we have an application process and it usually goes out at the beginning of the school year.
Um, and. The application is put on our website. And then we also email it out to as many school counselors as we can find across the Metro, across the Metro area. So both on the Kansas and Missouri sides. Um, and then we also promote it on social media, hoping that anyone that knows anyone. Any high school student that they think would be interested, um, can apply.
Uh, so then we take those applications and read through them, uh, and, and really find what kids fit where within our organization. So then I take some time to pair them with their interests. So, uh, we list each of the different committees. We have probably. 20 to 30 different committees that are working, either supporting, um, seven days, like, um, a social media committee, uh, public relations committee, uh, and then also the event chairs.
And then, so we pair them with an adult chair. So each event and support committee has, um. At least one adult and one youth chair. Usually there’s more than one, so at least three chairs, and then that group of people will kind of put their group together. Um, and we have a, I believe 21, um, current members.
Um, we’ve had, we’ve had a few more that had to drop out because it is a time commitment. Um, we meet monthly either. As a kindness youth leadership team where we really talk about a lot of the, how do you lead, you know, how do you make that happen? And so we’ll, we’ve had guest speakers, um. We actually have an event coming up this weekend where it’s an opportunity for the kids to learn about public speaking.
Um, and so we give them those kind of, of skills that, that help them when they go and meet with their adult chairs to do the tasks that need to be done. You know, they need to call vendors who is their, our host site for an event. Um, are we going to be. Looking at catering for an event, and do they need to call, uh, a food vendor?
Um, get information. Those kinds of calls aren’t easy for, um, for teenagers. They’re used to texting and not communicating verbally. And so we also, in our kindness youth leadership team meetings. Have done some role playing of, okay, if you have to go talk to your school counselor and introduce seven days and say, Hey, do you think that this is something we can bring to our school?
Um, we, we roleplay. How do you do that? Uh, and so those kinds of things are, are just the backbone of what we’re doing. Um. And so, yeah, we were able to get 21 students this year. Uh, and they are from all over. We have some private school kids, public school kids. We have one homeschooled girl. Um, so just, it’s, it’s really, really nice that we’re able to get quite a variety.
Um. And really another part of us is trying to, this year especially, let’s add some fun into it. So you get to know each other and you know, you’re from all over the city. It’s kind of nice to, to go, Oh, Hey, I remember seeing that girl at a meeting and, um, now we’re playing each other in football or, uh, something like that.
So it’s, it’s, um, social as well. Georgia,
Ruth Bigus: [00:12:15] how have you found. The programming that you’re getting, I’m putting you on the spot because jealous sitting right here, pretend like she’s not here, but how has it been? And you’re a junior now in high school and looking at college and all those kinds of things. So how.
What’s your opinion?
Georgia Winfield: [00:12:32] I think it’s been really great, um, especially to have these meetings leading up to the actual week. It’s really nice because we spend a lot of time together during the week when we see each other at events or if somebody is planning a come to their event and you’re able to, you know, like ask them questions because you’ve learned more about them.
Um, and it’s just great to get to know everybody because, um, sometimes we all get stuck in our little bubbles of our school and it’s
Jill Anderson: [00:12:55] just nice
Georgia Winfield: [00:12:56] to reach out and. Um, all of the meetings are really fun.
Ruth Bigus: [00:13:00] Gel youth are involved in many ways. Is it just the committee or the leadership team or is there engagement of seven days.
Beyond, well, lucky 21
Jill Anderson: [00:13:14] right. Uh, that’s another really good question. So we really want to get seven days message, um, to, as far reaching as possible. So one of the goals of the kindness youth leadership team is to bring the events to their schools and our website. Um. Www dot. Give seven days. Dot org, um, has resources for schools.
So, um, all levels, elementary, middle, and high school. Uh, one of the things we did for high school, um, I’m a former teacher and know how hard it is for when somebody puts something in front of your face to say, okay, we’ve got to, um, figure out how to get this done. As well as all of the things that are on our
Normal curriculum. So we try to make them really short, easy, uh, things that, that kids can do and that teachers can do. So for high school level, we made, um, spirit week ideas, so that, that’s something that is not taking away class time, but still can bring the ideas of, um, each of those. And so our goal goal is to get them.
Um, the kind of choose leadership team to spread that to their schools. Then also we have all kinds of volunteer opportunities. So getting them, excuse me, getting kids to, um, volunteer at our events or the weeks before, um, with all the planning. Those are great opportunities as well for youth.
Ruth Bigus: [00:14:42] So if you care about kindness, you’re a youth
Jill Anderson: [00:14:45] or
Ruth Bigus: [00:14:46] an adult, check out, give seven days.
Dot org opportunity for all. Thank you both for taking time to come share youthful things.
Jill Anderson: [00:14:55] Thank you so much.
Ruth Bigus: [00:14:57] Thank you for listening to KC cares. Kansas city’s nonprofit digital resource were produced by charitable communications, a five Oh one C three nonprofit organization.
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