Testimonials and Reviews - ★★★★★
This is the 2nd year we have had Houston join us for the Jake Anderson Leadership Symposium, & I didn't think it was possible, but it was better than the first! I have received numerous texts from youth & parents of youth who have thanked us for having Houston share his powerful, inspirational, & deeply personal message of Kindness & love. We look forward to building upon this message next year, incorporating a parent/community coffee, &/or some of the meaningful curriculum Houston's developed into our broader system! Thank you!
Kristi Anderson - Orono High School, MN
Houston was everything and more we wanted in a Kindness Week speaker! He effectively discussed the importance of kindness with humor, honesty, and relevant examples, and he kept the students engaged throughout the whole assembly. He was a huge hit among the students and the staff members! His small group workshop was also super effective, and students continued to be moved by his examples. Houston was incredible and I could not speak more highly of him!
Ann Codiga - Scotts Valley High School, CA - Advisor
This message was sent to my secretary from a parent: "Hey Tina, just wanted to give a shout out. I heard today's speaker was awesome. Not sure how he ended up speaking at China, but Mackenzie gave him rave reviews!!" I only heard positive comments from staff and students continually since our assembly. We would like to continue on this journey of promoting a culture of kindness in our building and will be discussing purchasing one of the programs for advisory or leadership. Houston's message is so powerful. Every single person was able to relate to his message.
Lois Bowden - China Middle School, ME - Principal
I was really impressed by the way Houston was able to get the students attention, keep their attention, and deliver his message. It is hard to keep 600 students engaged for an hour but he did it and, as I scanned the audience, he had students from all different social groups soaking in the message. It is my hope that the adults and students leaders here can follow up and continue the momentum started by his presentation.
Myke Pace - Hockinson High School, WA - Educator
Students shared, "Houston was a two thumbs up. He was funny and entertaining with a great message. I did not get bored for a second with a guest speaker which was awesome". They also shared that everyone was laughing and having a good time. He did great at keeping everyone's attention. This morning I heard many students comment on how he made them think with a more positive attitude about helping others and not putting themselves first. I truly believe Houston will make a difference at HHS.
Beth Tugaw - Hockinson High School, WA - Advisor
Our kids loved what you had to say! I spoke with our counselors and they have been talking to the kids about what they heard. It seems like a large number of our kids really took to heart what was said. Houston did an outstanding job at having multiple stories tie together and he really hit home the point that kindness matters. The workshop was also wonderful! Everything that he has been saying and had the kids practicing was something we had been practicing in class and talking about as a StuGo. Also, thank you for speaking to both sides of the gym :) That was helpful in keeping people engaged.
Britni Michaelson - Arizona College Prep, Erie - Advisor
Houston did an excellent job for our campus. Our students were engaged in his message. It's very difficult to get teenagers to laugh and think critically these days, but Houston was able to do this. He created a challenge for our students and staff to reach outside your normal comfort zone and take opportunities to treat others with Kindness.
Geniel Moon - Murrieta Valley High School, California - Advisor
Having Houston come to our school was great! I sat among the students which gave an even better insight of their impression, which was great! The kids listen intently and made fun comments of how his message was touching them. The use of humor was perfectly dispersed in his talk as was the personal incidents that had affected his decision to make the world a better place! Everyone can relate to how unkind behavior has affected them and the reminder to be kind to others. Pretending to be the boy dancing in the cafeteria was hilarious. Fear of looking stupid stops us from fun activities that we want to try but just won't do it!!!
Rhonda Christian - Jenkins High School, WA - Principal
Houston was wonderful and connected with the students immediately. His stories were engaging that I like the way he would revisit the stories throughout his keynote.
I liked the workshop and compliment work he did with the students. I would like to use the compliment starters that he mentioned.
Michaela Donahoe - Issaquah Middle School, WA - Leadership Advisor
Houston's assembly was the best assembly we have had at our school. Houston was fun and engaging. Both students and staff were excited and impressed with Houston and his delivery of the message. The workshop was also a great success. Our kids loved it. I am very interested in the CharacterStrong curriculum and will be ordering the supplement soon.
Bryan Conrad - Horizon Middle School, WA - Advisor
Houston is engaging and his message is powerful. He has a unique storytelling style with a balance of humor and sincerity. His break-out session challenged out students to consider taking his message and putting it into action. I look forward to seeing what they will do next after his presentation.
Annette Damien - Chaminade Middle School, California - Vice Principal
I remember the very first phone call in December of 2012. I was booking Houston Kraft for a Martin Luther King assembly, a year in advance, and I had no idea of the impact that was right around the corner at Sedro-Woolley High School because of that one single phone call. After that first amazing assembly and an opportunity to get acquainted with Houston I knew we had to tap in to his vision and his unique gift of sharing it. We have had Houston back every year since that first assembly and for the past 2 years he has developed a 3 day anti-bullying program that he presents to the entire freshmen class each October with a follow-up retreat in February.
Houston’s message of kindness, compassion and acceptance has truly changed the climate of our school…it is not so much a task that we “do”, but a way that we “live”. Learning about how to overcome our own personal fears in order to willingly stand in the gap for others has made us better students, friends and family members.
Substitute teachers that have experiences in many different school districts report back to us on a regular basis about how polite and considerate our students at Sedro-Woolley High School are. I believe our students, staff and community members are all better at remembering that “everyone has a battle they are fighting that we know nothing about” and to treat everyone with kindness…because of Houston Kraft. I am so thankful for that very first phone call.
Nita Hodgins - Sedro-Woolley High School, WA - Leadership Advisor
Houston's message was amazing! Everyone can make a difference and make the world a KINDER place. He has a great way of engaging students and adults in the stories he tells and driving the message home. Every day at our school, the morning announcements end with Be Kind, Be Respectful, Make it a great day. I think Houston was a great extension of this message and we hope to continue to build to make our high school a kinder place.
Leslie Pacher - Sealy High School, TX - Advisor
This was the second year we have had Houston at Tyee. This time we were fortunate enough to have him all day, which provided opportunities for him to work with smaller groups of students in AVID and Leadership classes, as well as with our WEB Leaders. He made himself available at all three lunches in an informal way. Houston is absolutely delightful and we love having him here!
Susan Thomas - Tyee Middle School, WA - Principal
The day with Houston was fantastic. From his presentation to our high school students, assembly with middle school, and work with staff in the afternoon, all were engaged and left inspired. Our school is now experiencing a wave of R.A.O.A (Random Acts of Agape). Staff have been thrilled at the letters received from students written with specificity and the most genuine heartfelt gratitude I have ever seen. A few new letters appear each day and staff rush into my office to show me what was written. They are touched and then in turn seem to internalize the importance of spreading kindness and gratitude more intentionally back to their students and to each other. One of our classified staff members shared his letter with me yesterday and said that he had been at many jobs in the past and this is the first place where he really felt he belonged and was cared for. That letter spoke to him in so many deep ways that a student would take the time to recognize the importance of the guy who fixes the computers. When I received my letter, it was at a time I needed it most. The job of a principal is filled with incredible successes and challenges and on any given day one can feel that nothing is going as planned and there are more problems than time in the day to address. To get that little extra boost of gratitude from a student can really shift perspective back to all the progress and gifts that are right before our eyes everyday.
On this Thanksgiving eve, I wish to offer my immense gratitude to Houston and his entire team for personal and professional inspiration, for his authenticity and ability to connect with students and adults at all levels. The Character Strong curriculum has been well received and hopefully the benefits of his one day with us will continue for the weeks and months that follow. He possesses a rare gift.
Bethany Spinler - Bellevue Big Picture School, WA - Principal
Houston did a wonderful job of creating connections, identifying and building trust, and giving tangible ways to build kindness and love with 1200 student leaders in an all-day workshop. It was timed incredibly well spent and the kids left feeling energized and empowered to make a positive difference in their schools, lives and world.
Jaime Johnson - Monroe High School, WA - Leadership Advisor
Wow. Wow is all I can say. Having Houston be a part of the out Everyone Matters conference was just amazing. The students and I were in awe during his entire presentation and the day could not have gone better. I appreciate Houston's ability to mold what he is saying based on the group or event and I especially appreciate his sincere and kind demeanor. Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to host such an incredible person! I think everyone should have the chance to hear Houston speak.
Madeline S. - Los Osos High School, CA - Student
Houston was terrific! I have heard great responses after his presentation. We were glad to have brought him to our campus!
Kim Jackson - Big Bend Community College, WA - Advisory
An amazing and powerful presentation, and an even more impactful workshop afterwards. Twenty-four hours later and the school is still abuzz with his message of kindness and compassion.
Jim Schiechl - Mattson Middle School, WA - Principal
Houston Kraft truly changes lives. He gracefully represents what service leadership is and inspired many students on my campus to become servant leaders. Keep changing the world Houston, thank you for inspiring me to do so also.
Allie Estrada - Pioneer High School, WA - Advisor
It was an incredible experience for our students! The message really has 'legs' and our ASB is putting together the Character Strong curriculum and app to use by designing a monthly character building campaign around Houston's message. Thank you, Houston!
Brian Darmanin - Hillview Middle School, CA - Leadership Advisor
Students and staff all loved Houston's presentation! His ability to meet the student's at their emotional level is wonderful and sure to help many! Thank you!
Susan Smith - Mountainview Middle School, WA - Principal
THANK YOU! I had heard Houston speak several times but it was so incredibly powerful to hear him speak to my school, and to my kids. I will never forget standing in the gym and realizing he had the undivided attention of over 2100 students and staff. Immediately, that day, students and staff were using the language of kindness and having conversations about making kindness normal. We have had so many conversations since of not being negative when we are uncomfortable but willing to push ourselves to be uncomfortable for the sake of being "different" and being kind.
I had several staff tell me how much they enjoyed the presentation including my principal who isn't the type of guy to want to talk about love. I also had a staff member that I have worked with for 8 years and never once has he said anything positive about what our leadership program does. He saw the presentation and sent me an email complimenting me and my students. He is finally getting it! Thank you for that.
I am continuing to incorporate the challenges into my classroom and trying to get them out to the whole school. Thank you for getting us started!
Megan Baxter - Union High School, WA - Leadership Advisor
Houston was just as wonderful as we anticipated and hoped. He connected very well with the kids which impacted his message. I appreciated how he adapted his presentation for the age groups. The workshop that followed was my favorite part...because he gave our student leaders real ways they could start practicing kindness and he used great analogies that helped them understand. Cant wait to talk about 5 pound compliments and 10 pound ones. He endeared himself to our staff and students.
Tiffany Williams - West Valley Junior High School, WA - Advisor
If you want a speaker who will help you change the world, Houston is your guy.
If you want a speaker who will make you laugh REALLY HARD, Houston is your guy.
If you want a speaker who will make your students realize that they can really make a difference, Houston is your guy.
If you want a speaker who's just very cool to be around, Houston is your guy.
If you want a speaker who has a unique and challenging message, Houston is your guy.
If you want a speaker who made the majority of our students and staff say that he was one of the best they'd ever heard, HOUSTON KRAFT IS YOUR GUY!
Jim Kelly - Carlmont High School, CA - Advisor
Houston's message was the perfect way to start our school year. We have been in school for three weeks now and students, and staff, are still talking about him. He had a lasting impact on our students and really made them think about the impact that they want to have on others. His message of "choose love" really resonated with our student body and we have seen a change in them because of it.
Matt Starnes - Lebanon High School, IL - Leadership Teacher
Houston, Thank you for helping us kick off the school year with love! We're excited to continue your message throughout the year with the CharacterStrong program. When we were debriefing how the day went one of my students said, "Some people think that one person can't make a difference, but every one of us is kind of everyone we meet, then we're not just one person making a difference--we all are!" Thank you! #chooselove
Jen Nemecek - Itliong-Vera Cruz Middle School, CA - Advisor
We were so happy to host Houston Kraft in Goshen County, Wyoming. Houston did two assemblies in the morning and a leadership training in the afternoon earlier this week. All were very well received by our students and staff. Houston does a great job of engaging students, entertaining them, touching their hearts, and giving them something to think about. He also provides great pre-teaching and follow-up resources. Now it's up to us as a staff (with our student leaders) to build on his message and "Make Kindness Normal" at our schools.
Cathy Deahl - Torrington Middle School, WY - Counselor
Houston was very relevant and current and the kids loved him. The mentors enjoyed the workshop and I, as the adult, really appreciated the message to carry their leadership work on throughout the year. This is something kids need to hear over and over. Our teachers who run the freshmen orientation program thought the message was fresh and important. I liked that the freshmen were engaged for the whole hour and respectful during the talk. I thought it was a little slow at times but the energy level came up and got the kids responding with smiles and laughs. Which really means it was a good flow, serious at times and entertaining throughout! I will recommend Houston to all the schools in our High School district and hope to see him coming back to Huntington Beach very soon! Thanks for a successful event!
Pamela Chylinski - Marina High School, CA - Advisor
Houston Kraft does an amazing job inspiring kids to dig deeper into the WHY of student activities. Student activities is always faced with a daunting to do list but he helps them see the WHY behind their to do list which will empower them to sustain their energy throughout the year. If you follow up on his dose of inspiration, you have a prescription for a great year. I'm so grateful he does the work he does to inspire both students and teachers to be their best self.
Sally Rusk - Inglewood Middle School, WA - Leadership Advisor