(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Benton High School is one of the first in the area to take part in the Truth Be Told project, a movement where good affirmations and words of encouragement are placed on school stairways.
"It's about kids understanding their identity despite their circumstances or what anyone else says," Jodi Brager, Director of the south side youth outreach said. "They are valuable, they are worthy, they are loved."
Brager got the idea from a social media post made by a school in Kentucky and thought it'd be a great way to spread positivity in local schools during this time of uncertainty.
"I know it's been a couple of rough years which we all understand because of Covid," Brager said.
She felt it was important positive messages could be seen by kids daily.
"As they go up those stairs multiple times a day and multiple days a week, they're seeing that same message." She said. "I feel like repetition helps it sink into their hearts and their heads so they can really believe it."
Senior Meia Furgeson agreed "I just think that with this, it gives a reminder to students that they are worth everything." She said. "It gives you a smile to brighten your day and you can spread it to other people."
Dr. Lara Gilpin, the school's principal said the kind words aren't just for young minds.
"Those stairs matter to our staff as well and to me as the building principal," She said. "I'll tell you every day I walk up them I read those and I love it."
Brager said other schools across the St. Joseph School District and beyond have already reached out to her in search of their own Truth Be Told project.
"What it tells me is that they knew that the kids in their school needed this message too," She said. "It's very good, it's very helpful and it could be life-changing and life-giving."
The Benton community is hopeful these words will be the first steps students take towards kindness.
"[The students] just have to know that they matter every single day because they do," Gilpin said.
Brager relies on donations to keep youth-centered events and projects going for area kids, click here to make a donation.