FLINT, Michigan—Those sweet little random acts of kindness are returning to Flint and Genesee County for a fifth year. Blueberry Ambassadors now are being recruited to participate in the "I'm Concerned About the Blueberries" program, which annually brings together more than 1,000 school children to do good deeds in the community.
Founder Phil Shaltz said the program will continue to expand this year—now allowing third-graders countywide to participate in the program. Blueberry Ambassadors commit to performing at least three random acts of kindness and then writing about their experience to inspire others to also pay it forward.
Through a partnership with MLive and The Flint Journal, students Blueberry Moments are published online.
“Never underestimate the power of our young people. The passion and dedication we’ve seen has been amazing and I cannot wait to see the impact these student ambassadors have on our community,” said Shaltz, a Flint businessman. “These students will be a positive force for change in our community—now and years from now.”
This unique program started in 2013 after a mysterious billboard saying simply "I'm Concerned About the Blueberries" went up along I-69 in Flint. No one knew what the phrase meant and it gained nationwide notoriety before Shaltz stepped forward to explain: “It’s about caring for each other and doing a little something, causing an avalanche of good,” he said then about the Blueberry effort.
The Blueberry Ambassador program started with just 100 student Ambassadors as a pilot program. The response over the past four years was so overwhelming that the effort grew to 1,300 Ambassadors in the 2016-17 school year.
All Blueberry Ambassadors are part of a team with one adult team leader who is often a teacher, counselor, or coach. Those interested in forming a Blueberry Ambassador team or receiving more information should sign up using this online form
to ensure they have a spot in this year's program.
A kickoff party is planned for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Riverfront Conference Center in downtown Flint.
I’m Concerned About the Blueberries also is continuing its partnership with the Genesee County Educational Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that is helping to spread word of the program throughout schools in the Genesee Intermediate School District.
More about the student Blueberry Ambassador program:
• Open to all Genesee County students in third- through 12th-grades (as well as any Genesee County-based collegiate student organization).
• All Blueberry Ambassadors commit to doing three random acts of kindness.
• Each group or “team” of Blueberry Ambassadors needs one adult coordinator (usually an educator, coach, counselor or advisor). There is no size limit for teams.
• Schools are permitted to have more than one Blueberry Ambassador group.
• Need more information? Email [email protected]