When it comes to acts of kindness, I try to stress one major point to my audiences: “We never know how far the ripples go”.
Over the weekend I tried something new.
During a speaking event for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program, I put a different spin on one of my closing stories. This particular group of two dozen high school freshman were getting their feet wet as part of a Community Leadership Workshop (CleW) as they launch a year-long 100-hour community service mission.
I love this organization.
As I prepared to wrap up, I asked: “Who has a shelter or food pantry in their community which they would like to help?” One of the first hands to go up belonged to a young lady who’d just given a great answer in the previous exercise.
“Can I give you a big challenge?” I asked.
Drawing a $20 bill and a business card from my pocket, I continued: “Please contact them and see what items they need most, then stretch this money as far as you can. When you gather it up, please take a picture of yourself with all the items and share it on social media with this message: ‘I was given this money and asked to pay it forward and share this picture to see how many more people we can help’. Then please e-mail me the picture.”
“I can do that”, she answered.
What I did not tell them was that I had been given that money earlier in the week, earmarked for an act of kindness.
This little experiment, paying forward a ‘pay-it-forward’, was a first…and it won’t be the last.
While I was packing up my laptop and projector during their break, the event organizer approached me, saying “Wow, that young lady has already texted her Mom to put together a plan for sharing that money!”
As a speaker, my mission is to plant seeds like this with every audience.
I can’t wait to see the picture and hear what she does with the money, and how many more people she affects on her journey into this 100-hour community commitment.
How did I get MY start?
I had coaches, mentors and others who inspired me by sharing a bit of themselves…who asked me to pay it forward.
I hope I’ve honored their wishes.
We never know how far the ripples go.
I’ve just tossed a $20 pebble into HOBY Pond.
I can’t wait to watch the waves.
How many ponds can YOU ripple into this week?