When his teacher set a challenge to his class to come up with a plan to change the world for the better, twelve-year-old Trevor McKinney’s idea was simple: Do a good deed for three people and ask each of them to “pay it forward” to three others who need help. At first Trevor’s project seemed valuable only as a lesson on the dark side of human nature. But then something amazing happened: a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading beyond Trevor’s small California town and across the world.
The internationally acclaimed book by Catherine Ryan Howard, Pay It Forward, brought Trevor’s sensational project to the attention of millions of readers, beginning a movement of spontaneous giving. The book and the subsequent movie resulted in the formation of the Pay It Forward Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting kindness and generosity to others. This year the Foundation has declared April 24, 2014 as Pay It Forward Day, an international initiative that embodies the power of giving.
Always occurring on the last Thursday in April, Pay it Forward Day encourages people from around the world to intentionally do a good deed for someone else without expecting anything in return. The concept of Pay it Forward is that the recipient of the altruistic good deed will then be asked to continue the chain of kindness by doing something nice for someone else. The goal this year is to inspire more than three million acts of kindness around the world. While many may think such acts of kindness need to be of significant in size, effort and scope to be effective, changing people’s attitudes about the world may require relatively small, unobtrusive acts like; paying for someone’s cup of coffee or treating another person to a meal.
Businesses can participate by supporting employees efforts to help a charity of choice or encourage staff members to participate in the day and promote a departmental challenge whereby each department competes with each other to make a positive contribution to the community.
Spread the word to family friends and co-workers and encourage them to join in on a day of kindness and giving. How will you PAY IT FORWARD?