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A kindness cup of Joe

October 30, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Coffee drinkers who stop at the Austintown Starbucks in the coming weeks are likely to receive a special coffee sleeve for their hot cups. The sleeves are part of a program that has Austintown Elementary School (AES) second graders decorating them.

"I got the idea from seeing other coffee shops use the sleeves for breast cancer awareness and I thought about having my students decorate the sleeves to spread kindness during Bullying Prevention Month," said AES second grade teacher Dana Patrick. "I wanted this to be able to reach a large amount of people and asked my fellow second grade teachers to all join us in spreading kindness and help to complete the sleeves. We called it Espresso Your Kindness."

Patrick contacted the local Austintown Starbucks, 851 Canfield-Niles Road, and asked if they would be willing to partner up with the school and donate the sleeves for the students to decorate. They agreed and Patrick was put in charge of picking up the boxes, over 2,000 sleeves, to take to school and delivering the final products upon completion.

Article Photos

Taking part in a program to provide coffee sleeves to the local Starbucks are AES second graders, in front row: Guliana Clinton, Leah Brown, Kelsey Vinarsky, Tessa Roth and Riley Kern. In middle row are: Santonio Vazquez, Ian Sheridan, Jacob Burry, Violet Reynolds, Haylee Scott, Teagan Gould and Kaleena Thomas. And in back row are: second grade teacher Dana Patrick, Camyn Sallee, Jeffrey Newton, Jake Berni, Ryan McCutcheon, Phoenix Patterson, Beau Perry and Derek Greathouse.

"The students were very excited," Patrick said. "They loved the idea that they were going to be designing their own coffee sleeve. They also loved that their sleeves were going to be shared to people in the community."

There was no set criteria for designing the sleeves. AES teachers encouraged the students to use kind words and wrote some examples on the board. The school counselor also came in and read a book on kindness and it really gave the students a good grasp on what they could write on the sleeves.

"Other than that, they really enjoyed making the sleeves unique in their own way and I, as their teacher really loved what they came up with on the finished products," Patrick said. "They were so creative and their words were so meaningful."

Some examples of what they wrote on the sleeves include "You Matter, Enjoy the Journey, Be the best you can, You are amazing/beautiful/wonderful, Be Kind, Spread Love" and other quotes along those lines.

Education wise, the program goes right along with the school's PBIS program about developing positive behavior and creating an environment to do so. Showing the students of the second grade the importance of being respectful to others was really capitalizing on the importance of good behavior through using kind words. Enjoyment wise, the students enjoyed coloring and being able to create their very own unique piece of art.

"We are hoping to see them on the cups starting the end of this week," she said. "The local Starbucks will also be displaying a sign in their store to recognize students from the classrooms involved."

As for the program continuing, Patrick said she hopes it does.

"I would love to see this event become a yearly occurrence for National Bullying Prevention Month," she said. "I think it is great for students to have community involvement and see that they are making a difference in the place they are living. It teaches the students what it is like to give back and make someone else feel loved and appreciated, just through kind words. It is a great lesson to be taught at a young age and reminded of at an older age. That was my goal, for both the students and teachers to spread kindness because the world could use a little more of it."



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