Emma Suggs has been to five different schools in Madison County this year promoting kindness.
Emma Suggs has been to five different schools in Madison County this year promoting kindness.
Emma Suggs, a Germantown High School sophomore, looked around her school and thought that, while it was not known as a particularly hostile environment, people could always be a little nicer.

“I was brainstorming for a project for our young Problem Solvers Club and my first thought was that people could always be kinder to each other. Just simple things people say to each other to improve everyone’s day,” Suggs said.

So she started Project KIND. It started out as a board in a public place at GHS where students could post a sticky note with an encouraging word or phrase. The sticky notes could then be given to other students as encouragement or left up for all to see.

The project quickly ballooned into something Suggs could hardly imagine. First, with boards and presentations at local elementary schools emphasizing kindness with an aim to reduce bullying. She visited five Madison County School District schools and talked to between 300 and 500 students.

Since then she has been contacted by a teacher in Corinth to bring her presentation on the road and has been selected to present her project in Amherst, Mass., at a conference run by the Future Problem Solving Program International in June.

“I have the chance to win a trophy but the whole trip will be worth it just to spread my message to more people,” Suggs said. “Something like 10,000 people attend the conference every year.”

When she presents her project in June at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Emma has to show proof of how her project has impacted her community.

On May 10, she was invited to meet with Attorney General Jim Hood to share what she has been doing and receive feedback.

“I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Emma Suggs, a 10th grader at Germantown High School to discuss ‘Project Kind,’ her program designed to promote kindness and decrease bullying,” Hood said on his social media pages. “She has been chosen to represent Mississippi at the International Problem Solvers Competition in Massachusetts this summer. I’m proud of Emma for taking the initiative to help her community. The future of Mississippi is bright.”

Her mother, Emily Suggs, said that she is proud of what her daughter has accomplished.

“There is a lot I can say about her project. When she began the project, it was out of the kindness of her heart but I don’t think she realized how brilliant of an idea it was and how much others were going to support it,” Emily said. “Bullying seems to be an international concern that young children through adults can relate to.”

Recently, Suggs was invited to the Mississippi Counseling Association Annual Conference to present her project to more school counsellors through Mississippi. 

When she returns from Massachusetts she already has a presentation at the Mississippi Children’s Museum scheduled for July.

Suggs said the recognition has been nice but the true fruit of her labor is seeing the kids take her message to heart in the schools.

She said she recently did a presentation to a group of second graders at Mannsdale Elementary. She noticed a boy who seemed standoffish and unengaged.

“I got some of the kids to write him a sticky note and take them to him,” she said. “He really lit up and wanted to pass out some notes of his own. I love talking to the students and seeing things like that.”

The 16-year-old still has two years of high school left. She said this year has been the beginning of a project she would like to continue to work on and does not plan on stopping in the future. 

You can follow Suggs mission at project_k.i.n.d on Facebook