Domino Deeds

Good Deeds from Students – Domino Deeds in Schools

Following up on my blog post about Domino Deeds and Jim’s amazing initiative of paying it forward, I’m very happy to share the results of my presentation of Jim’s paintings and Domino Deeds in school.

If you missed the information, Domino Deeds was started by Jim Fussell who has donated over 10,625 paintings to countless charities and causes. Those non-profits have auctioned these paintings off to raise funds for their organizations. Many people have also kept a painting and in exchange they did a good deed for someone else, thus initiating the domino effect of good deeds.

Good Deeds from Students - Domino Deeds in Schools
a painting by Jim, on a student’s desk 🙂

Last week, I talked about Jim and Domino Deeds in my social science class, and my students were very interested. The stories moved them and they had many great comments and questions. At the end of my presentation I did a painting lottery and everyone was excited about getting a painting. There were several landscapes in different seasons, each one unique and signed by the artist.

Ideas began to take form, and some students were telling me what they planned to do and which charities they wanted to help.

Over the course of this week the reports of their good deeds have been coming in, and they all did beautiful things. Some kids even went the extra mile and came up with stunning ideas that just blew my mind.

With their permission I’ll share a few of the success stories here below.

Students’ Domino Deeds


“For this project, I believed the best thing would be to help someone, or a group of people, in such a way that it was effective, but also meaningful. In order to pay it forward, the last thing that I believed would come to mind was to send it back. Not literally, but sometimes paying it forward might be to do something for the person behind you, by sending a good deed back. No, not back to the teacher, or to the classmate behind me, but instead to a random person, or maybe even a family. (Let me explain)

With some creative thinking, the most creative idea I could think of was the most ironic. To pay it backwards, literally. By paying it backwards, I was to pay for the person or family behind us, at a restaurant. Therefore, I went to the best place to do a good deed, a drive through (two in fact). First, I went to Carl’s Jr, a fast-food restaurant next to the movie theater. With tons of people, we went through the drive-through lane and told the cashier at the window what this project was about. A few french fries later, a car pulled up behind us. With this, the cashier gave us the total for their order, paid, and asked the cashier to give them a card. Also, we took a photo with the painting, and gave a domino to the car behind us.

This card was to remind them to keep spreading the deed, and we hope they paid for the people behind them as well!

Finally, we went to a Starbucks drive-through. Although it was not as busy, we explained to the cashier what our mission was, to do a good deed for the car behind us. However, since there were no cars, we waited just around the curb for the next customer. Upon his arrival, I hurried to the cashier in order to pay for the customer’s drink. I asked (respectfully) if the cashier could give the card and a domino to the customer, as a reminder to keep on paying it forward.

Domino Deeds card

In conclusion, I hope I created a domino effect, or even a ripple effect among those people. Not only was it the ones who received the deed, but also the ones who participated in making it happen. In this case, the cashiers played an amazing role in this project, where not only did they get to view the happiness in their faces, but also feel a warming in their heart. Like a motivation inside them that (hopefully) will inspire them to do the same.”

Jim Fussel art

Ellie (I copied part of her report, not everything)

I thought about what I really wanted to do with the painting for a while, and while thinking about it I put it on my desk so I could be reminded of it every day. While I sat at my desk I kept looking over at the painting and was reminded again and again of the significance and story the painting told. It reminded me to be kind and give everything I could day after day so for that reason I decided to keep it. If I ever meet someone who I feel like needs the painting more than I do, I’d gladly give it to them and tell them the story of this painting.

The day I got the painting I had tutoring after school and in the middle of the session 2 people came up to me and said they were fundraising money for kids who wanted to do sports but didn’t have the funds to do so. They had a small selection of items you could buy like chocolate or candy but I told them to keep everything and I gave them everything I had on me. It was only 100 pesos but I think that even small payments like that help in the long run.

My mother and stepfather recently had surgery and they just came home a few days ago. I noticed it was hard for my mother and stepfather to move certain ways because they were healing so I decided to cook dinner for them every night and clean the kitchen.

Domino Deeds cards

In conclusion, this painting has taught me a lot more than just doing good deeds, for me it’s facing every problem with a positive mindset and outlook. Even though some of these deeds are on a smaller scale, I think it is important to work your way up to deeds that might take some more time, for example I want to foster some dogs when I’m older which I know requires money and my own space which I don’t have at the moment. This painting makes me think about the future positively in a way though, as I get to think about doing greater deeds later in life.”

Final Thoughts

There are many more beautiful stories. One boy bought a guy who always hung around a local store an energizing drink every day. The guy was very grateful, and they began to build a rapport, chatting a little every time my student went to the store.

One student made French toast for his classmates and another student gave cupcakes and cookies to one of the cleaning ladies in school on Valentine’s Day. One girl bought the security guard at school an ice cream 🙂 Another girl went to help someone to feed his dogs.

One student donated her clothes and gave a one-legged man who was asking for donations $500 Mexican pesos (approx. $24 US) and she also bought him something to drink; and another girl went to a local kids charity and donated toys. A girl who was sincerely touched by Jim’s initiative enlisted her mother to help her cook a full meal for a local charity that helped children of low income families.

Domino Deeds

I’m touched by what they came up with and I’m really proud of them. Words cannot express how I feel about what my students did to pay it forward. I’m grateful for having been part of this great initiative. Jim (the artist) had tears in his eyes when I sent him reports of the students’ good deeds.

I will end this article with his words as it feels like the perfect way to do this (and I’ll send Jim a copy of this article – and if you’ll allow me – with your comments. (just let me know in the comments below if I may share your thoughts with Jim) 🙂

Jim Fussell’s words:

“So heart touching. I am such a softie, teary eyed as I read their words.”

“Your students’ stories will touch the hearts of potentially thousands if not more people.”

“The kindness all of these wonderful students are exhibiting, they are simply born with. Maybe Domino Deeds presented an opportunity to show by example what already exist in your individual beings. I am so proud to hear these stories and each student is giving me fuel to continue doing what I do on my end. Each of you make Domino Deeds relevant.

The kindness of Alex, giving another person a flavored drink as he stands outside the Oxxo store, and having conversation with that person, those interactions are priceless and who can say just how Alex’s actions are touching that other person’s heart. That person will not always be standing outside looking in, one day he will remember how you befriended him and he will befriend someone else. Touching people’s hearts in any fashion is something they will carry with them for a lifetime. A simple hug, a sincere smile, a kind word, praise, acceptance, making people feel they are relevant.”









15 thoughts on “Good Deeds from Students – Domino Deeds in Schools

  1. I read a bit about Jim and Domino deeds before although from reading this article I definitely have a better understanding. So Christine I’ve definitely read some of your blog posts before but never knew you are a teacher. By the sounds of things you have taught your students well and I’m sure they will all grow up to be better people because of it. I do think about the law of karma quite a lot. Some of my friends say if they buy me a drink at the bar – we don’t buy drinks to get drinks back but maybe this is just it. Maybe to really pay them back it is simply the matter of doing a good deed for someone else or even them in future if they ever need it.

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work

    Best regards;


    1. Hi Alex,
      Thank you for your comment! I hope that this project left a seed of paying it forward in my students 🙂 As Jim said, this project didn’t need to awaken their good deeds, it was already in them. We may have just prodded it a little bit 😉

  2. Very inspiring. I read the previous article on Domino Deeds too. What your students did is so inspiring and this is because they were inspired. This will have an impact not only on those they helped, but on them too.

    Simply beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing inspiration.

  3. Hi Christine, Domino Deeds is a truly inspiring program. What a wonderful artist to donate over 10,000 of his paintings to charities. I was touched by your students reactions, and the idea of paying it forward by giving to the person behind a wonderful idea.

    Jim Fussell’s words at the end of your post are very touching. Thanks for sharing ☺

  4. Hey Christine,

    Thanks for sharing Student’s Domino Deeds with us.

    The core message of kindness is relevant for everyone – relevant for the haves and the ‘have-nots’, the young and the old. And your young students have shown us how even with little means, anyone can be kind because sometimes we want to cut ourselves a slack by saying we give not, because we have not. But when we reflect carefully, we see that we have much, and when we share with no strings attached, when we pay it forward or backwards as one of students like to describe it, we are actually richer for it, and we are simultaneously encouraging others to be kind.

    Thanks for this piece, I really enjoyed it.


    1. Hi Femi,
      Very true, when we pay it forward, we are richer for it. The students loved this assignment and were grateful for the opportunity to participate in this. Everyone told me about their good deeds with much enthusiasm 🙂

  5. Hi Christine,

    Wow, tears in my eyes when I went through what your students did for people that need help. This movement is successful among your school, and I believe it should spread to all schools worldwide. In that case, kids will always think about goodness and get inspiration to help others no matter how big that is. I love their stories, like a light in the dark for me. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Hi Matt,
      It would be wonderful if this initiative could spread to more schools. So far, we are the first school to have done this 🙂 Jim would love to have this organized in more schools.

  6. Oh, wow, Christine and Jim, you really got something going here. Marvellous. <3
    I was already enthusiastic after reading your first post about Domino Deeds, Christine, and it's amazing what your students came up with.

    Especially the one that gave domino stones to the receivers as a reminder, and your other student who wants to keep the painting for her reminder.

    I am a little bit ashamed because all I have done so far is talk about Domino Deeds with my husband and a friend. My only lame excuse is that I haven't seen anyone else. :-S

    Thanks for the update!

    1. Hi Hannie,

      There’s no need to be ashamed. 🙂 Thank you for following up! Any small deed is a good deed. It can be a simple hug, and some nice words for someone can go a long way.
      I also love the students’ stories, especially the idea of the Domino Deed cards as a reminder, just brilliant 🙂

  7. The mission on to pay it forward with paying for someone else’s food is fantastic and a way to make people happier. This domino effect seems to be a good tactic to help the cause and effect of good deeds. Doing a good deed is paying it forward when you do not expect something back in exchange.


  8. Hello Christine and thank you for sharing with us your amazing stories!
    It is beyond impressive how one good deed can spill over to many more people and create this big domino effect! What also impresses me is how different we all are and how many different forms of kindness one act of kindness can trigger.

    Humanity definitely needs a reminder of the good and that acts of kindness and beauty will be the ones ruling the world!

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