World Link decided to kick off the year with our Annual Kindness Cookies Project! Moved from December to October, the project proved to be a great way for our students to introduce themselves to their community while spreading a little extra joy.
We are proud to announce this year’s project had the most treats donated than any previous year at nearly 14,500! That’s 1200 DOZEN delicious cookies, cupcakes, brownies, cakes, and tasty bites shared!
The Project’s Beginnings
The project originally started during our virtual program year in 2020. We wanted to give our students, host families, alumni, friends, and program supporters a chance to do a project “together”. To bring happiness to those who needed it most, all around the world, during the pandemic.
The idea for our project was inspired by World Link FLEX ’20 student Olga from Poland. During her exchange year, people in her community began calling her the “cookie girl” as she would regularly bake and share Polish gingerbread cookies at places she volunteered. Seeing the joy of sharing cookies, sparked the idea.
Sharing Culture in One Tiny Bite
World Link asks students participating in the Kindness Cookies Project to choose a traditional recipe to make and donate as a way to share their culture with their community. To encourage this, World Link prints a calendar each year featuring 12 students from 12 countries along with their favorite recipe. We have loved seeing students share pictures of their featured month on social media throughout the year and giving host families, school administration, and program supporters a chance to try their hand at baking something new!
Students donated their baked goods to a wide variety of people throughout our host communities. Treats were given to local heroes, persons in need, and disadvantaged groups. Many teachers and school staff enjoyed the sweets. Our YES student Almedina from Kosovo chose a very special staff member for her donation, “One day I woke up very early for school, to bake warm cookies and share them with my bus driver. He works very hard every day, and he loves his job! So I thought to share some kindness for his hard work and let him know he’s appreciated.”
Our students visited hospitals, nursing homes, and schoolchildren to donate their little gifts. Others passed out boxes of goodies while walking down the street! Students made a good effort to meet many people in their host communities through this project.
Our Kindness Cookies Project is more than a student sharing their culture, they are also learning about others. Cluster groups got together for cookie-baking events, teaching each other about their home country’s recipe. Many of our students included their host family in the fun. By doing this, they got to learn how to make American classic cookies such as chocolate chip, sugar, and snickerdoodle or a host family traditional dessert!
By sharing our cookies and our culture, we learn about the diversity that makes our globe such an interesting place to live and explore.
Reflections on their Kindness Cookies Participation
Our Kindness Cookies Project is more than giving out cookies. It teaches our students the benefits of small acts of kindness. It shows them that not all projects need to be big to have a big impact. Simply sharing gratitude to others by giving small gifts, can truly make a difference. Here’s what our World Link students had to say:
“I had an amazing experience today thanks to the Kindness Cookies Project…People with Italian, Albanian, and Bulgarian backgrounds told me that ‘baursaks’ reminded them of dishes from the national cuisines of their cultures. Learning more about the cultures of other countries while speeding your country’s heritage is amazing.”– Danara from Kazakhstan
“I just wanted to say that even though October has come to an end, I believe that the Kindness Cookie Project is a year-long thing, and I encourage everyone to keep spreading kindness in different forms because that’s how we get closer to people, and create a better environment for everyone. And seriously, who doesn’t like baked goods?”– Indre from Lithuania
Why Kindness is Important
This letter, given to our FLEX student Zalina by her school counselor, nicely sums up why being kind, in just a small way, can brighten people’s lives: