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Westchester 10th Graders Learning The Power Of A Random Act Of Kindness

HARTSDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Students from a local high school say they've learned the power of a random act of kindness.

They were each given $50 and told to do something good with it.

The theory is called the Butterfly Effect. It's the idea a small change can have a much large impact, like if a single butterfly flaps its wings on one side of the world, it could start a hurricane on the other side.

Some believe the concept can also be applied to kindness.

RELATED STORY FROM CBS NEWS: Proving The Butterfly Effect With A Single Act Of Kindness (March 2015)

In May, 70 10th grade students at Leffell School in Westchester tested it out. They were given $50 each, and their only instructions were to use the money to pay it forward.

Fifteen-year-old Sara Greenberg used her money to buy supplies for a struggling family during a volunteer trip in Costa Rica this summer.

"I'm sure it made a difference to them and I'm really happy I was able to do that," she told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon.

Her classmates did other similar deeds.

Another student created gift packs for children in the hospital.

"Things to make them happy and forget the situation they're going through," she said.

The school was inspired to give out the butterfly grants by Chris Rosati.

Rosati first started giving out the grants after being diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease.

The concept gained traction and ended up inspiring students nationwide.

Rosati died in 2017 but his legacy continues.

Dr. Bill Blank is a psychologist who works at Leffell and knew Rosati.

"I think he'd be really... have so much gratitude that his germ of an idea really, there's a butterfly effect," he said.

The school chose to give the money to 10th graders because the theme of that grade is service to others and kindness. The goal is to teach the students the importance of philanthropy and giving back.

It seems to be working.

"Any act of kindness can mean something and even just the thought can mean something," Greenberg said.

The school says this was the second time it has given out the grants, but definitely not the last.

Leffell School says it received the $3,500 to give out this year's grants from an anonymous donor.

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