COLUMBIA CITY — Like a ripple in an ocean, an act of kindness, no matter how small, can leave a lasting impact. When we do for others we are helping to make a difference in someone else’s life and in our community.

The sixth grade students at Indian Springs Middle School are taking that idea to heart this year in a project they are calling “Mini Miracles.”

“It’s something small you can do to help someone,” explained one student.

“It’s just helping out in small ways,” said another.

The idea was first sparked by sixth grade teacher Cori Ziliak after she saw a video on Youtube from the airline company WestJet. They have multiple videos showing the impact of altruism, but the video that struck Ziliak was one entitled “WestJet Christmas Miracle:12,000 Mini Miracles.” In it, the company travels to different places throughout the world to do small acts of kindness for strangers.

Ziliak shared it with other members of staff and together they made a plan to bring the Mini Miracles idea to the community.

It’s taking the principle of “do unto others as you would want them to do to you,” noted Ziliak. “We want to make a difference and show them (our students) that they can too.”

The sixth grade students have come up with many ideas they plan to put into action through this project, which began Monday and will continue through Dec. 15.

Some of the ideas they have shared so far include picking up trash, holding the door open for someone else, shoveling a driveway or raking leaves, giving compliments and more.

“Everyone needs to be comforted,” shared one sixth grader.

“The goal is that everyone knows they are special and they might (then) do something nice for someone else,” shared another.

Each time a student does a Mini Miracle for someone else they will write it down on a tree and place it on the wall. This is how the class is counting the miracles they do through the campaign. They are making it a challenge, and the homeroom that has the most trees on the board will earn a homeroom celebration.

But the message, Ziliak says, is intended to run deeper.

“(We) think it’s so good for them to experience doing kind deeds for someone else,” she said. “You never know what day someone is having and how (do something nice for them) brightens their day.”

It’s a message and a project the teachers and students are hoping their family members, businesses and members of the community will join them in.

“We want to create a chain reaction,” said one student.

Each student is being challenged to do 10 Mini Miracles, and the ultimate goal is to reach 1,500 Mini Miracles by Dec. 15. With the help of the community, that number could be even larger.

So far five other groups have already joined them in this effort include the Community Foundation of Whitley County, TROY Center, Brook and Co., Big G’s, the City of Columbia City, as well as a few other Whitley County Consolidated Schools teachers.

One act of kindness can do so much for someone else, but also for the community, and the students and staff are encouraging businesses and organizations to join them in this effort. Interested parties can reach out to Ziliak by emailing for more information.

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