In 2010, the Random Acts of Kindness Etc. club, also known as RAKE, was created when a group of Associated Student Body (ASB) members returned to school after attending a leadership convention. They then asked Julie Moberg, a physical education teacher, if she would be their adviser. Without question, she agreed.
Over the years, RAKE has put on many events, including one where the club visited a senior care center for those with memory loss. The students sang Christmas carols with them, played board games and card games, and colored with them. They also held another event called Welcome Wednesdays in which the students would give out free hot chocolate. When they ran out of hot chocolate, they high-fived as many people as they could. At one point, they offered free face painting. In order to create a more welcoming environment and help break stereotypes, Julie had the quarterback from Riverside’s football team do the painting.
“That’s why it’s super important for some of the guys to be a part of it, because we often think of femininity behind kind gestures; and often times, some of the kindest are from coming out of that stereotype,” Julie said.
One of the biggest events that RAKE has held is Winter Wishes. It started out as a small event aiding kids who have experienced challenging situations with Christmas gifts in the days before the start of winter break.
Over time, it became so big that the club needed to partner with the school’s ASB to manage the load of money coming in to support the program. People donated thousands of dollars, which provided the funds to buy presents for those with houses that burned down, were experiencing homeless, or were dealing with other difficult situations. In simple terms, if the club received the names of people that needed assistance, they helped them in some way.
Another event that the club is proud of started when Julie adopted two dogs from a woman in Texas. Julie learned that the woman was trying to raise money to establish a dog kennel, so she helped put together a fundraiser at the Doggy Olympics. In order to include people that may not train their dogs, she included games where the dogs would have to lick peanut butter off of spoons, and in another game, the owners competed to see how much fur they could brush off their dogs. Ultimately, the RAKE club helped to raise over $4,000 in donations and a supply of canned dog food to give to the woman.
Current RAKE member and high school senior, Ashley Saunders met Julie in her freshman year when Ashley took up aerobic walking, a class that Julie teaches. Ashley has been dedicated to the club and has attended countless meetings early in the morning, often walking from her house to the school.
“I love the club. It is amazing making someone else feel better without receiving anything in return,” Ashley said. “It truly is an amazing club and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”
But it’s not just the club’s current members that speak so highly of Julie or their club experience.
Former RAKE member and 2014 graduate, Nicole Coppola, became interested in the club when she heard about Winter Wishes. She participated in the school’s ASB and says that Julie is “one of the most kindred spirits I’ve crossed paths with. She has a heart of gold and a consistently positive outlook on life.”
RAKE was really started by kids, for kids.
As a final thought, it is important to know that even in the classroom, Julie takes time out of the normal class period to do ice breakers and let everyone learn each other’s names. If she sees a student bullying another student or being generally disrespectful, she puts a stop to it.
Julie continues to work towards a better school and shows a passion for it stating, “I think if you love what you do, then it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort.”