Viewers know CBS' Steve Hartman from his segment, “On The Road,” in which he travels around the country looking for stories of ordinary people stepping up for others in kind and compassionate ways. But now his work is reaching a younger generation.
(Listen to our interview with Steve Hartman in this week's episode of Kind World by clicking the play button below.)
After transitioning to at-home work due to the coronavirus, Steve started thinking about how he could help children and families all around the country as they stay home in close quarters and deal with the anxiety and stress of the pandemic.
That's how Kindness 101 came to fruition — a virtual class by Steve focusing on topics like altruism, courage and empathy, featuring stories from "On The Road."
We spoke to Steve about his class, how he got it up and running and the deeper motivation behind his passion for sharing the importance of character with kids.
On how his kids got involved in Kindness 101:
Steve Hartman: They were not supposed to work with me. Meryl wanted to hold a sign; that's the way it started. And then she started talking. And then she started taking over. And now, the little traveling we do outside the house, somebody sees us, they'll go, "Hi, Meryl." She's more famous than I am now.
On the logistics of starting his class:
Steve: We've had a group of teachers — they're part of a Facebook group called “On the Road for Educators.” First thing I did was reach out to them and say, “Help, how do I do this?” Because although I have many stories about optimism and courage and gratitude and fortitude, I never really had to teach how to be like that.
On Chris Rosati, a man Steve interviewed a few times for "On The Road" who died of ALS in 2017, and how Chris inspired him:
Steve: One of the most important things he ever said to me was, "If you teach a kid good character, everything else falls into place." And it rang true. If a kid grows up with kindness and fairness and honesty, they'll find good work. They'll find love. They'll find friendships. And that's kind of the lesson that stuck with me the most and has fueled my passion about sharing these stories and repurposing the stories that have run on the evening news for this greater goal of making kids better people — kinder with stronger character.
Steve Hartman is the award-winning reporter of CBS's "On The Road." He is also the instructor of Kindness 101. He tweets at @SteveHartmanCBS.