Under the guidance of their teacher Erinn VanderMeer, Kenilworth Junior High students "yarn-bombed" downtown Petaluma on Saturday, wrapping street poles in colorful yarn creations that they spent the last two to three months knitting during down time in class.

It was all part of a kindness project taken on by Kenilworth's leadership class, which VanderMeer teaches. The idea, she said, was to create a public art project that would bring a smile to people's faces when they went downtown. The project focuses on promoting kindness as the antithesis to bullying, which has become an epidemic in schools across the country.

"In junior high, we often need that lessen," VanderMeer said.

VanderMeer's photography and visual arts students participated too.

As part of the project, students distributed business cards around town with what VanderMeer referred to as "pre-fab" compliments. Each card includes several compliments. The person who finds the card is encouraged to check one compliment before giving the card to someone else. Compliments include "I'm so happy to know you" and "I think you're special." Quotes about kindness are also affixed to the knittings.

"The students enjoyed it," VanderMeer said of the project. "They were thrilled to be able to use their hands."

This is the second year VanderMeer has led such an endeavor — last year, students yarn-bombed Copperfield's Books in honor of authors of a book on the yarn-bombing phenomenon coming to town.

"It was a great opportunity to bring some light downtown," VanderMeer said.