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The bulletin board in second-grade teacher Katie Mote's classroom says it all—"Kindness is contagious…pass it on." It is here that Katie's students in Charlotte, North Carolina, post their good deeds—from preparing a treat for the mail lady to surprising a neighbor by planting flowers in her yard. "It makes me feel good when I'm nice to people," Katie's student Victoria says.

After putting her students on the path of giving, Katie gets busy with her own challenge. She hears about a mother and daughter living in a tiny, broken-down trailer with no heat, a leaking roof and very old furniture. She surprises them with a new washer and dryer, appliances that will save them from having to depend on friends for help with laundry. She also buys a new bed for 14-year-old Brittany and takes her on a $500 shopping spree!

"Once I started to look for families in need, there were so many, it was hard to choose just one," Katie says. "I feel more aware of the need that is out there and ashamed that I never thought to help before this experience. No one, especially a child, deserves to live the way this family was living, and I feel such an obligation to continue to help as much as I can."
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