By Whitney Christy
Students from kindergarten through fifth grade have been hard at work creating beautiful stones with positive messages. Each stone, adorned with bright colors, holds step-by-step instructions on what to do if found, and a positive message on the other. Each child has been told to come up with their own message, whether it’s something they’ve learned from family or something they deeply believe.
These stones, called Love Drops, have been placed throughout New Orleans and Baton Rouge, most recently the State Capitol. The note on the stone instructs participants to share pictures on their social media page and include where they found it. Then the participant is asked to relocate the stone for another person to find and the fun goes on and on.
Lusher is an Ashoka Changemaker School and is part of a network of schools identified as having empathy-based programs that will help transform education.
“We went through a rigorous process to be selected, and there are only two Ashoka schools in Louisiana,” said Lusher principle Sheila Nelson.
As a part of the program, Lusher has had several special opportunities to work with other schools in the country that are in the network and learn from experts who are seeking to change the framework of education. Lusher has recently obtained a small Ashoka grant that was geared to partnership. The grant allows them to partner with schools in Dallas and Plessy Community School in New Orleans.
During a brainstorming session with all the schools, an art teacher from Dallas introduced an idea which morphed into Love Drops.
Ms. Murry and Ms. Spanik are teachers at Lusher that have spearheaded the program. They set up recess centers that allowed the children time to create their stones. Parents also volunteered time to help.
With so many tourists traveling in and out of Louisiana during festival season, the decorative stones have had the opportunity to travel farther distances in the country. Chicago, D.C, and Georgia are just a few of the most recently recorded travels.
L’rae Celestine, six-year-old at Lusher Elementary, believes that the program was a great idea and hopes they will get to do it again every year.
“I really like making new messages with my friend Maliah and people will smile when they read all the things we put on the stones,” she said.
Celestine’s message to others was “Create happiness and share joy.”
Love Drops is part of Lusher’s partnership efforts with Momentous Institute and Cottonwood Creek in Dallas, as well as New Orleans. It is a part of a larger project that includes visits to schools and popular areas in the large community.
Empathy-based projects are very important to the school and many can learn from the kind messages the children are placing in the major cities. It only takes a few moments to make someone’s day better.
“We look at Love Drops as one of many projects that will reflect what is special about Lusher Charter School,” Nelson said. “Our number one rule is to be kind and we teach our students how to live by this rule.”
Those interested in learning more about the Love Drops and to see where they have traveled in the country can visit facebook.com/foundlovedrops.