WYOMING, Mich. — Time for One Good Thing—someone or something that makes West Michigan a good place to live.

The old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That may well be true.  But, what if all it takes is a word or two to change the world?  Or, at the very least...someone's day?

Four students from St. John Vianney Catholic School in Wyoming answered that very question this past year.

The stress students experience isn't all that different from the rest of society. Eighth grader, Ian Joekert says, "People judge other too much based on what they look like." 

And the walls of their schools are certainly no barrier to what is happening around them.

Ian follows up, "There's too much negativity in the world."   

Wise words, from anyone—especially this group of eighth graders, who were tasked last year with an assignment: change the world with your words. Ian came up with a simple plan.

"I thought I could just send some emails to people."

He found quotes from famous authors, philosophers and world leaders.  Then... he just started sending them. First, to his own class.

"I expected people to just ignore them," he said.

"Did they?" I asked.

"No," He replied.  "It worked."

So well, in fact, that he was asked to expand. 

"At first it was just our grade."

Three more students were brought in to help.

"Then it was the entire middle school."

The four rotated. Once a week, they were responsible for simply sending good thoughts and joy to their classmates.

"It's kind of fun to make someone smile for the day," adds Connor Wortman.

"If it was already not going great, it could turn it around. That's what makes it special for me," says Ryan Elder.

The response from the kids opening their emails was genuine. They know because they had the data to tell them so.

Ian said, "I sent out a survey. 100% said they enjoyed it. 90% want it to continue."  

Their teacher said change the world with your words. They did better. They changed dozens of worlds. Every week. Even if just for a day.

If you have a One Good Thing you'd like to submit - someone or something that makes West Michigan a good place to live - email me with your photos and-or video at OneGoodThing@13OnYourSide.com.

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