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'It makes people feel happy': Bryan students spreading kindness around community

Rayburn Intermediate students put together selfless acts for others with the hope to create a more positive atmosphere.

BRYAN, Texas — After the past year, the world has faced people can use a little kindness. A group of students at Sam Rayburn Intermediate School in Bryan ISD wants to help spread some of that.

“If you want your school to change or you want to change the world; one act of kindness can always do it," said Khloe Atterberry, a sixth-grader at Rayburn Intermediate.

The group of sixth-graders calls themselves the Armadillo Dream Team Association (ADTA). They go around school putting on selfless acts for others with the hope to create a more positive atmosphere.

"The kids began a kindness movement internally as we were learning about some of the Essential Eight," said Fabi Payton, a sixth-grade math teacher at Rayburn Intermediate. "They got more courage and started doing things that were bigger and bigger.”  

The group began meeting at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year in Payton's classroom during lunch. What started as simply being nicer to their fellow students has turned into establishing a peer counseling group on campus, creating art murals on old lockers and posting sticky notes with words of encouragement for others to read.

"It just makes people feel happy and that makes us feel happy too," said sixth-grader Alexa Lopez.

ADTA's reach is not only confined to the hallways at Rayburn Intermediate. The kindness crew is ready to make a difference around town with their upcoming Random Acts of Kindness Festival at the Palace Theater in Downtown Bryan tentatively scheduled for Apr. 10. They plan on having arts and crafts, live music and other activities. 

The proceeds from the event will go to the Haven, a local non-profit that supports children in the foster care system. It's a topic that is near and dear to ADTA.

“I’m adopted myself and I was in a foster home," explained sixth-grader Neveah Fannin. "I want other kids to feel the same way I wanted to feel; special and in a nice environment and home.”  

Fannin said being part of ADTA has helped her make more friends and feel special. That’s the goal the whole group wants to give to the world.  

"We just want to spread kindness in a way that makes other people happy," Fannin said.