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Boyd students share flowers to spread joy

By Hannah Scott

Published 4:06 PST, Tue January 24, 2023

Social justice students from Hugh Boyd secondary handed out 500 flowers last week to brighten the day for many seniors.

The third Monday in January (Jan. 16 this year) is sometimes known as Blue Monday, or the most depressing day of the year, a concept that originated in 2004 through psychologist Cliff Arnall and a Sky Travel advertising campaign. 

Sixteen of teacher Michael Taylor’s Grade 11 and 12 students took part in the “flower flash mob” outside the entrance to the Richmond Seniors Centre and Richmond Public Library. Their Blue Monday initiative was part of a school equity project called the Lift Project, aimed at uplifting people in the community.

“In particular, students hope to lift the spirits of seniors, and raise awareness into the issue of social isolation among this cohort—a topic we studied in class, and that students recently discussed in a podcast interview with a University of British Columbia professor,” says Taylor.

Wearing matching Lift Project buttons, students tried to bring enthusiastic energy through upbeat posters and music. Each donated flower had a note tied to it, offering seniors an opportunity to start a pen pal relationship.

“It was an amazing experience,” says Grade 12 student Emma Errore. “People were so surprised, and it was so nice to see them leave with their flower in one hand and a beautiful smile on their face. A woman told me that we made her day, and I felt so grateful. I think we reached the goal: to lift up others on this Blue Monday.”

Fellow Grade 12 student Sophie Chang described the event as “meaningful and impactful.”

“The part that impressed me the most was when we were giving out flowers, there was a man who received one, yet gave it back to us. He explained it as an act of kindness. I believe this is how our society cultivates love,” says Chang. 

Aseana Acabado, in Grade 12, says: “ We all have battles that no one knows about. Being able to put a smile on people's faces warms my heart and gives me so much comfort, pushing me to keep on going. This small act of kindness amplified our sense of community and the essence of reaching out to people, allowing me to relate better with them. It's an experience that I will forever be grateful for.”

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