Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Contagious Kindness

Contagious Kindness

Jasmine Khiroya

Year 8, Carlingford High School

Contagious Kindness

In the dark of the night,

when the streets are empty

except for the dim glow of lamp posts

a girl sits on a damp wooden bench,

quietly crying herself to sleep.

Her small hands,

her calloused feet

enclosed in scuffed leather shoes

her greasy straw hair,

her pleading eyes

look at you.


she cries out.

You can almost hear her pleas

from the other end

of the park pathway

where you stand.

You stare at her

and see that

her eyes glistening

with fresh tears.

She once led a life

full of excitement and exhilaration

an adventure

around every corner,

enjoying her childhood

to the brim.

She was ambitious and determined

a courageous fighter.

Her name was Faith.

But now with her parents gone,

and only her sick grandmother

to care for her,

she is so lonely

and feels more lost

than ever before.

She is exhausted and broken

from all those times

she tried to make friends

or even manage a smile.


But they just looked away,

like there was something

more important

more interesting

in the distance

than the little girl in front of them,

whose heart was slowly crumbling


in front of their judgmental eyes.

Everyone is constantly so busy with their own lives and are filled with themselves that they forget to look out for those who desperately need kindness. If we just stopped for a minute to think about others and tried to help them, our world would not be so broken.

Kindness is overlooked as a form of weakness today.

People are constantly picking and criticizing others on looks, race, clothing and money. This should not be how people see each other. If we saw others with a positive outlook to the world and tried to show a little kindness every day, then the world's heart would change, along with ours.

Kindness matters. Throw kindness like every day is your last. Let it fill your heart with song and goodness. If we would make a little effort to spread kindness like confetti, the whole world would be covered in it. Be the one to start it. A simple smile to someone is an act of kindness.

Now you see her

crying in the school corridor

as the peers and teachers

walk right past her


like she was never there.

Her silent scream of despair

pierces the night

with a mournful song of terror

and fear.

She looks back at you

with fear in her eyes

Will you do something?

Will you be the one to help her?

Or will you leave her

to cry in despair

and you live your same life,


that you had an opportunity

to help her

to save her

to love her.

But you ignored her


to her helplessness

and you didn't stop to think

where she would be

after you had left her behind

if anyone would actually

showed her kindness.

How dramatically

her life would have changed

if you turned around,

and stopped to think

I'll be the one.

Be the one to give kindness

to those who need some.