Acts of kindness are being recognized in Gahanna.

The inaugural Teachers Educators and Mentors Awards and Student Citizen Awards will be presented in March and April, respectively, in collaboration with Neighborhood Bridges in Gahanna, the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce and the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

"It's a neat way to bring the community together," said Ron Smith, area director for Neighborhood Bridges in Gahanna.

Neighborhood Bridges is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that was launched in January 2017.

It uses technology and social media to advocate for children and families in need by engaging the community to meet those needs.

"These awards recognize students and staff in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools who make an impact by going above and beyond with acts of kindness in our community," Smith said. "We wanted a way to give thanks."

Jill Elliott, the school district's assistant superintendent, encourages anyone who has witnessed staff and students going above and beyond with acts of kindness to consider making a nomination.

Nominations are due March 1 and may be submitted at tinyurl.com/kindnessAwards.

"We are grateful our staff and students will be recipients of the first Student Citizen Awards and TEAM Awards," Elliott said. "Our students and staff are very active in sharing kindness, not only in our schools but also out in the community.

"We are proud to be part of a community that cares so much about each other and is willing to share kindness is so many different ways."

Smith said the citizen honorees would include one student from each elementary school, two students from every middle school and four students from the high school.

"The same thing holds true for our teachers' awards," Smith said. "These are for district staff people -- custodians, cafeteria workers, teachers, principals, counselors -- any staff member that's a part of the Gahanna-Jefferson school district is eligible to be nominated for these awards."

A dinner will be held March 19 at the Gahanna Sanctuary, 82 N. High St., to recognize the TEAM Award winners, and lunch will be held in the same location to honor the Student Citizen Award winners April 9.

"We want to generate awareness of those in our community who are doing great things through these awards so that we can tell others about them," Smith said.

He said the Neighborhood Bridges Project includes 25 communities.

"And Gahanna is right there up at the top in kindness," Smith said.

In 2019, he said, the community contributed to 975 acts of kindness through Neighborhood Bridges in Gahanna.

For more information, go to neighborhoodbridges.org.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla