The Journal

Houston Kraft · May 7, 2017

At Arapahoe High School in Colorado, they refuse to be defined by a tragedy. In 2013, a school shooting left one girl, Claire Davis, dead and a school in shock. Days later, the Davis’ family spoke to the school and said they forgave the boy and that the school must pursue Love - not bitterness or hate or anger. What a profound statement to issue amidst profound hurt! We can choose forgiveness and Love even in moments of true pain.

3 years later, the Student Body President has a simple idea - anonymous empathy. He started a journal with an entry about his life and his struggles and his dreams and his pain. He passed it to someone else and told them they have 24 hours to write in it and pass it on to someone new. They can choose to write their name, but can leave it anonymous. As it gets passed, daily, whoever has the journal gets to experience a profound insight into their student body and an opportunity to share their story safely.

How do the students at your school have their stories heard? Are there small, daily things happening to make people feel seen?


Houston Kraft

Houston Kraft is the co-founder of CharacterStrong. He is a professional speaker and kindness advocate who has spoken at over 600 events internationally. Student Body President in High School, Class President at Bowdoin College, Leadership Camp Staff for 14 years in Washington - he is a lifelong learner of character, culture, kindness, and leadership. He was featured in 2019 on BBQ Lays Potato Chips and his mom's lasting life lesson is "Hug like you mean it."