Pay It Forward: Promote Faith in Humanity

Random acts of kindness not only change someone’s day or situation, but prove to be uplifting for our own well-being as well. About a year ago, I was in ShopRite with my sons purchasing groceries for the week. When it came time to pay, I swiped my debit card without knowing my car insurance had been automatically taken that morning. My payment was declined and embarrassment became immediately evident. I asked the cashier to hold my order and take the next person so I could check my bank account to see exactly how much was in my account. The woman behind me pulled a $50 bill out of her purse and handed it to the cashier. I was in absolute disbelief! I told her that I couldn’t accept the money, but I appreciated the offer very much. The woman wouldn’t take no for an answer and told me to make sure I took every opportunity to pay it forward. With tears in my eyes, I thanked her profusely and assured her I would always remember what she had done and would follow her advice. To this day, I’m still in awe of that act and continue to pay it forward every single chance I am able to.

Promote faith in humanity! Here are some ways you, too, can pay it forward:

Donate Used Books

speech313Many children in your community don’t have access to books because of financial reasons, or because their families don’t value education. That’s why libraries are a great resource. Anyone can sign up for a library card and enjoy thousands of books for free.

Step It Up

Donate your used books to your local library or an organization that provides books for children. Include a kind note if you wish.

Keep It Simple

Bring a used book to school to share with your classmates.

Related Resources
  • Visit PublicLibraries.org to find the library closest to you.
  • Click here for information on how to donate books to a library.
  • Books For Kids is an organization that works to ensure that at-risk and low-income children have access to books.

Give Carepacks To The Homeless

There are so many everyday accessories and toiletries we take for granted – toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant.homeless

Imagine how you would feel if you didn’t have access to these small things. Well, many people in your community can’t afford these things. By donating even the smallest items to those who don’t have them, you’ll be providing someone with a greater sense of self-worth. Simple accessories you may take for granted could be greatly appreciated by those who are less fortunate. Maybe your support will open a door that will give that person a change to get a job or give them a fresh start to a new life.

Step It Up

Pack toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, snacks, gloves and warm socks in backpacks and hand them out to the homeless in your city.

Keep It Simple

Donate toiletry items to your local homeless shelter.

Resources
  • GiveBackpacks.org is an organization dedicated to supporting the homeless population in Austin. Visit the organization’s website for ideas on what items homeless are often in need of.
  • Visit the Homeless Shelter Directory to find a homeless shelter near you.

Help Someone For Free

grassIt’s easy to put time and effort into tasks if we’re doing them for ourselves or getting paid to do them. But what about doing work for others when you aren’t getting paid? Why not do a job like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house or babysitting for someone, and surprise him or her by not charging.

Benefits

If you have a friend or family member who is struggling financially, offering to do their house or yard work is a great way you can help them, even if you’re on a tight budget yourself. Plus, everyone appreciates a little extra help!

Step It Up

From babysitting, to helping someone paint their house, there are a million ways you can help others for free. Maybe you have a gift for fixing cars, or are really handy when it comes to organizing. Find out something you are good at and make a commitment to use your talent to help at least one person every week.

Keep It Simple

Helping someone for free is also something you can do in your own home. For some of us, that might mean challenging yourself to do a task like the dishes every night for a week, without asking for extra allowance money. For others, it might mean helping your spouse do the laundry every week. There is probably always something you can help out with in your own home. Get creative!

Related Resources

Hold The Door Open For Someone

Holding the door open for someone is something they just do in old movies, right? Guess again. Holding the door open is a polite and Hold-Door1thoughtful act you can easily do for your family, friends and even strangers, every day. Whether you’re at school, the grocery story, at work, or at home, those around you will certainly appreciate your good manners.

Benefits

How you treat others can also say a lot about you as a person. If actions really do speak louder than words, what are you telling others about yourself? Besides, everyone appreciates a polite act, like having a door held open for them. Hold a door open for someone and give them a smile. A small gesture on your part, like holding the door open for someone, will certainly brighten their day and may even turn around a bad mood.

Step It Up

Go out of your way whenever you can to hold a door open for others. If you are about to enter a door, and you notice that there are people behind you, hold the door open for them until all of them are inside.

Keep It Simple

Remember to hold the door open for others whenever the occasion arises.

Let Someone Go In Front of You In Line

lineWith technology becoming more and more advanced, as a society we get used to doing everything as quick as possible and getting everything we want instantaneously. When we’re caught up in the face-paced world of today, we often forget to stop to notice those around us. So next time you’re in a hurry in public, slow down and go out of your way to be courteous to everyone around you. When you’re standing in the checkout line, waiting to pay for your food at the grocery store or waiting to order your drink at a coffee shop, offer to let the person behind you go in front of you.

Benefits

This is a great way to practice patience, a virtue that will carry over into all areas of your life. It’s also a simple way to make someone’s day memorable. Would you forget the stranger who went out of his or her way to make your day?

Step It Up

Make it a habit to offer someone your place in line or let them go in front of you at least once a day. You’ll be surprised at how many opportunities arise and at how practicing patience will impact your daily life.

Keep It Simple

Another way to practice patience and be generous to those in front of you in line is to be gracious about waiting your turn. Don’t complain or think badly of the person in front of you, even if they are taking a long time. Or when someone cuts you in line, try not to dwell on it.

Make A New Friend Today

Introduce yourself to a stranger and strike up a conversation. Or, perhaps there is someone you’ve seen occasionally on the bus or in the friendsneighborhood. Ask them how they’re doing.

Make a new friend today!  Whether you are in school, at work, playing a new sport, or studying at a coffee shop, go out of your way to say hello to someone new and start a conversation. Volunteer to show someone the ropes at school or at work.  Get out of your comfort zone and say “hi!”

Benefits:

Everyone knows what it is like to be the new person at school, on the block, at work, or on the team.  Maybe you are the new person right now.  No matter which side of the situation you are on, it means a lot to have someone help you out and take that first step of saying hello.  Reach out today–you might just make a new friend!

Step It Up:

Make a goal for yourself: talk to one new person everyday this week. If it is someone you see often on your commute in the morning, pursue a conversation each time you see them.  Or if it is someone at school sitting by themselves, invite them to come sit with you. Commit to speaking with one new person everyday for a week.

Keep It Simple:

This can be a very daunting idea, particularly if you are a shy person.  Try to commit to speaking with one new person this week.  You could even send someone an email or simply smile at someone new and see if they start a conversation. Just be open to meeting someone new!

The ideas are endless! Go with your heart, or, if you would like some different ideas on how you can pay it forward, visit The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. They provide a multitude of ideas!

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