Lincoln Gratitude Journals Help Students, Staff Embrace Each Other

     Published on 10/5/17   Tagged under:    District News    Lincoln Middle School   

Lincoln Middle School students show their gratitude journals.Each morning as Lincoln Middle School students arrive at school, they take out their journals and write down one thing they’re grateful for.
“We write what we’re grateful for so our attitude changes and stays positive throughout the day,” eighth grader Shase Lobdell said. “It helps us treat each other better because we’re not so angry.”
“Once we express our feelings on paper, it puts our hate and anger in here instead of toward other people,” Nasheem Kithcart added.
Responses vary from long to short; from silly to serious.
“I’m grateful for this book,” one student wrote.
“I’m grateful for not missing my bus this morning,” another jotted down.
“I’m grateful for God letting me live until this day because most teenagers don’t make it to become 13,” one shared.
Principal LaJuan White bowed her head as she heard these responses. They are the reason she initiated the Gratitude Journal project in school this year.A gratitude journal greets visitors to the main office of Lincoln Middle School.

“The kids are becoming more open about sharing,” she said. “Some of the things they come up with are really tear jerkers. As a community, this has really helped us get closer. We’re seeing a lot more smiles and hugs going around!”
Visitors to the school’s main office are also greeted by a journal and are asked to complete the sentence, ‘Today, I am grateful for…’ Visitors have expressed gratitude for the school staff, students, relationships and more. Staff said the book has even helped some tense visitors relax.
Principal White came up with the idea for gratitude journals when she had a tough day and stopped by Original Grain to buy a smoothie. While waiting in line, she noticed a journal from Grateful Peoples, directing patrons to pause, take a deep breath and share one thing for which they are grateful.
“It’s all about that moment that you stop and remember that even when you think there’s nothing going right, there is always something to be grateful for,” Ms. White explained. “It helps direct your thoughts to health and happiness and allows you to really be present in the moment. This has really changed our outlook and mindset within our school and our community.”
Principal White and teacher Marleah Tkacz wanted to purchase the Grateful Peoples journals that Ms. White originally noticed at Original Grain, with the intention of each student and staff member having their own. But the cost of the journals was far too much for their budget, so they reached out to the company to inquire about an opportunity for assistance.
Within days, the Founder of Grateful Peoples had contacted Original Grain and other local businesses to see if they would be willing to create specialty ‘Gratitude’ items on their menu and donate proceeds to Lincoln’s gratitude journal project. Original Grain, O Yoga, Urban Life Athletics and Apizza Regionale were among the companies that jumped on board to help.
“That really shows me that our city is ready to embrace gratitude,” Principal White said. “This project has truly unified our city and has brought beautiful attention to Lincoln. Our families are proud of the school because of this project… it has become a cause that we all want to be part of.”
Thank you to all of the organizations that are working to help continue the Lincoln Gratitude Journal project and to Principal White for initiating this wonderful activity!