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Sprinkles of kindness fall on Marshalltown drivers

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY
Despite unseasonably chilly temperatures Friday, dozens of Anson Elementary School students stood at the intersection of South Third Avenue and East Anson Street “sprinkling happiness” at passing vehicles. Here, Jennifer Estabrook’s first grade class participates.

With smiling, happy children waving, followed by honks galore, dozens of Anson Elementary School “sprinkled happiness” for an hour at the South Third Street and East Anson Street intersection.

Students stood at the intersection’s four corners from 2 to 3 p.m. with educators and staff as they participated in “Sprinkle With Kindness,” an event in which they hold signs which read, “You Are Enough,” “You Are the Good News,” and “Live Your Dream” in English and Spanish.

“It is really fun,” first grade teacher Jennifer Estabrook said. “The students love to do this.”

Estabrook kept a watchful eye on her students, who were busy doing what kids do best, waving, smiling and laughing as passing vehicles honked their horns in appreciation.

“We take turns, soon fourth graders will be replacing us,” Estabrook said.

Un-seasonably cold temperatures and blustery wind necessitated the wearing of winter coats, hats and gloves by students and staff.

“Sorry we did not pick a better day for this,” said Andrew Potter, communications director for the Marshalltown Community School District as he moved back and forth between groups getting photos and interviews.

Not far from Estabrook’s group was first grade teacher Jennifer Janssen and students. They too were burning off a lot of energy holding signs, waving at vehicles and more. Janssen was wearing an Iowa State University stocking hat and winter coat.

“We have been sweating in past years,” Janssen said.

Potter said it was the fourth consecutive year Anson students and staff had “sprinkled happiness.”

The event was started by guidance counselor Ashley Chyma.

“It’s an act that shows the community that happiness can be spread by cheering, waving at people and holding up signs with happy messages,” Chyma said. “It does not cost anything to make someone happy.”

One example Chyma shared was from a couple years ago when a woman drove by the group of students holding up signs and waving. She returned with a bag of suckers for the children.

“She had been having a really bad day and she said this simple gesture put a smile on her face,” Chyma said. “It is nice that the community appreciates something like this.”

The thought of doing Sprinkle With Kindness more than once a year is something that has been talked about but Chyma and Anson Elementary Principal Ronnie Manis said by holding it annually it stays fresh.

“Everybody has fun with it and they enjoy it,” Manis said. “It’s a good feeling, especially for the kids seeing people drive by and honking. It’s just a fun event for the community.”