On 30 November 2018, students flooded into the cafeteria at lunch and were greeted by the Kindness Cafe booth set up along the side. The Kindness Cafe is an annual event held by Undercover Kindness, through which students can express their gratitude and spread kindness.

MGCI Undercover Kindness was founded in 2013, and runs a multitude of different campaigns and events. Since its founding, Undercover Kindness has grown significantly, and with it the number of projects it has undergone. The club’s accomplishments at Garneau have earned it positive recognition, including receiving the 2017 Class Act Award alongside a grant of $6000 USD for their incredible dedication and initiative. The money has helped them fund more large scale projects, such as murals in the cafeteria.

“We work towards a supportive school environment in which everyone has mutual respect for each other,” said Larissa Long, a member of the club. “We want to do this through little acts of kindness that can make someone else’s day.”  

The Kindness Cafe is the largest event that Undercover Kindness organizes. “It’s just to make people happier, especially during stressful times,” said Caryn Qian, the president of the club. “I hope that students take inspiration from us and realize that all it takes is a moment to stop and say something nice to make somebody else’s day,” she said.

Through the Kindness Cafe, students sent thoughtful, supportive messages to others in the schoolsmall actions, yet meaningful ones. Many chose to write inspirational messages on sticky notes, which will be stuck on student lockers later in the year, as well as messages to teachers, which will be distributed before the winter holidays. Undercover Kindness also collected compliments on larger pieces of paper, which will eventually be folded into paper cranes and displayed in the galleria. In addition, through the online Undercover Compliments Garneau network, compliments were sent to specific people at MGCI. All the compliments were sent anonymously in hopes of spreading kindness “undercover.” As an added bonus for participants, Undercover Kindness prepared an assortment of sweet treats, ranging from glazed donuts to sugarbread cookies, and gave them to all those who wrote a compliment.

A student writes an anonymous compliment. Image: Jenny Bai

The Kindness Cafe was received extremely well by its participants. Many appreciated the simple opportunity to brighten another person’s day. “It was well organized and the snacks were also really good,” said Shokria Ameri, a Grade 9 student. “Students were really happy to participate, and the organizers were very nice.” She added that the event could have been promoted more beforehand to attract more students. Advertising the Kindness Cafe through morning announcements, social media, and posters would have made the event more successful, she said. Even so, this year’s Kindness Cafe was the most successful so far, and the event will undoubtedly continue to grow in future years.