With the holidays upon us, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, forgetting about those who may be in need or those who do not have families and homes in which to celebrate.

This is true not only at the holidays, but throughout the year.

Food instability or being homeless is something that no child should have to experience. Unfortunately, many of our families qualify for food assistance and are homeless or unable to verify a proper residence. In spite of these realities, the hope that our students engender is something to be celebrated. Children have a unique ability to see the world in ways that only the most pure of heart can envision.

A few years back, the South-Western City School District started sharing some of the many ways our students and schools give back to the community that so strongly supports them.

Hash tags such as #SWCSDgivesback started cropping up all over social media. We continue to share photos of our students' acts of kindness and giving back.

Many of our schools started sponsoring kindness activities in November leading up to the holiday season. The definition of caring is 'displaying kindness and concern for others' or 'the work or practice of looking after those unable to care for themselves.' During Kindness Week and Kindness Day, we began to see "Be the 'I' in Kind" photos across the school district, as well as kindness notes, random acts of kindness and messages of hope and support.

While many people have fond remembrances of a perceived kinder, gentler time when they were children, our children are still caroling at local senior centers and skilled-care facilities, collecting thousands of canned and nonperishable food items for families-in-need and local foodbanks, creating cards and packages for deployed service members and veterans and volunteering with various nonprofit groups. They are making blankets and coloring books for local hospitals, sponsoring giving trees, collecting toys for local toy drives, creating blessing bags for the homeless and sponsoring adopt-a-family programs across the district. Their kindness and giving nature assist those most in need during the holiday season.

Their thoughts and actions serve as inspiration to us all.

Kindness and giving back are really year-round activities, sometimes being as simple as a warm smile, a 'please' or a 'thank you.' The greatest way to give back is to do it all year long. That is what a sense of community is all about -- caring for others.

Happy holidays to you and we hope you have a wonderful 2020!

Bill Wise is the superintendent of the South-Western City School District.