Random Acts of Selfless Kindness (RASK) clubs were founded in the spring of 1997 to meet the growing need for student service-learning in an inclusive capacity. RASK is a part of Utah’s Promise, which is a multi-year initiative that mobilizes citizens to make a positive impact in their communities. It also strives to bring five fundamental resources to every child: caring adults, a healthy start, safe places, marketable skills, and opportunities to serve others.
In April 1997, retired U.S. General Colin L. Powell chaired the President’s Summit for America’s Future in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. America’s Promise is the national follow-up to the President’s Summit, and Utah’s Promise is Utah’s response to the national effort. Utah has communities of Promise, and RASK is a part of Dixie’s Promise. RASK is a part of the fifth goal designated by Dixie’s Promise – providing Washington County youth with opportunities to give service.
A motivated student and her teacher worked to develop, organize, and implement the program into their school – Dixie High School. The first project RASK participated in was Make A Difference Day. The school came together to transform the barren backyard of the Children’s Justice Center into a functional playground. The Drafting class had the responsibility of planning what the yard would look like. The Ornamental Horticulture class then secured sod, shrubbery, and trees. Next, student volunteers approached local businesses to donate playground equipment. Many Fridays and Saturdays were then spent painting a fence, pouring cement for a basketball court, gardening, and building a sandbox. This initial RASK project was a success, and RASK was awarded the Make A Difference Day Award. They donated the $2000 to the Center, and students now volunteer regularly there.
The next year RASK worked with Washington County Preschool on Make A Difference Day. They won the Make A Difference Day Award once again and used the funds to meet the needs of the school. Donations from students, faculty, and community secured computer equipment, special-needs interactive equipment, and computer desks. Students came together to paint a mural over an old shed, clean and stripe the parking lot, and install computer equipment. Interaction with preschool students is ongoing as volunteers are at the school regularly, mentoring children and receiving training in the speech-impediment profession.
Each holiday season, the students at Dixie High School participate in the Salvation Army Angel Tree. More than $10,000 has been raised annually from actively involved students. Gifts for needy families are purchased, displayed in the school library, wrapped, and delivered. Aside from these major annual projects, RASK also offers monthly service activities for students. Some of the programs are community food drives, delivering flowers to a local care center, cleaning yards for the elderly, talent shows and Senior Balls at the local rest home, installing speed bumps in school parking lots, and making quilts for needy children.
RASK has expanded to two additional high schools and hopes to be implemented in the other three high schools in the near future. The club lives up to its name and has impacted the community by aiding them in learning the value of kindness, selflessness, and service.