Frenchtown dedicates Kindness Tree mural

TRUMBULL — With children’s singing as a background track, Frenchtown School unveiled its Kindness Tree mural in the school’s lobby Tuesday.
The unveiling was attended by the entire student body and staff.
“Some students have asked, ‘Why are we putting up a tree?’” said Literacy Consultant Jennifer Olimpieri, an advisor for the school’s Kindness Club. “This tree is a symbol of our commitment to being kind to others. As you enter the building each day, it is a reminder to make someone smile, to build each other up, and always be somebody who makes everybody feel like they matter.”
The Kindness Club was created two years ago at Frenchtown by teacher volunteers with the support of Principal Laura Cretella.
Participants gather one day each month before school to engage in activities that focus on being kind to others in the school, town, out-of-state and themselves, Olimpieri said.
The first year the club had about two dozen members in kindergarten through fifth grade. This year, it has grown past 75 members.
One of the club’s long-term projects was to create a “Ben’s Bells” mural for the school. These “be-kind” murals are a series of themed mosaics created by local artists, students and community members.
“The brightly colored public art pieces symbolize community connection and support through kindness and are created by a diverse group of community members wherever they are located,” Olimpieri said.
The murals are made of ceramic tiles and mirror. The materials were purchased through a sponsorship with the school’s Fathers Club.
In April, the Frenchtown Kindness Club and their families began creating the mural, guided by Jane Adams from Ben’s Bells. Adams directed the decoration and personalization of hundreds of tiles that are included in the mosaic.
Every student and staff member had an opportunity to paint tiles. The mural was installed last week by parent volunteers and Ben’s Bells workers.
“At Frenchtown, we are a school who cares about each other and the community we live in,” Olimpieri said prior to the unveiling. “Let our Kindness Tree be our symbol and a guide to live by each day.”