For the past four months the participants have been writing down the pay-it-forward gestures they have done, and sealed them in envelopes.
On March 15, the group met for the ‘opening of the envelopes’ and found that the collection of good deeds was numerous. They voted to continue the project for another 3 months.
The envelopes contained a variety of pay it forward messages including things like giving rides to the market, to visit relatives on Christmas and picking up people from the hospital. Others purchased food for individuals as well as Safe Haven Drop-In Center. Some cooked for others, picked up and delivered medication, cleaned tables and trimmed plants at a restaurant and trimmed rose bushes for another business.
One person teaches GED classes and helps the students study, while another picked up walnuts, cleaned the theatre and helped take down a display after a special event. There were donations of clothing, gifts for others, helping people move and even helping pick up and deliver a mattress. Some of people did things to improve the Safe Haven building, like developing a schematic for the building’s exits, while others listened to friends, consoled others and even lent a little money when there was a need.
The project began as an attempt for the Safe Haven patrons to share with others.
Once they got into it they found that paying it forward doesn’t always require spending money. It only takes an act of kindness or an act of sharing to qualify.
Its about forming community partnerships said Mental Health Services Act coordinator Dereck Parks regarding the ‘pay it forward’ program being developed by Safe Haven Drop-In Center patrons.
The group started with about nine participants. By the end of the first four months there were about 15 people taking part.
At the envelope opening event, the participants took turns reading the messages. Some shared that it made them feel good to have been a part of something that gives back.
“This is about our community and forming partnerships with community members and businesses,” said Parks.
As this project continues, the group hopes to see the circle of kindness, giving and assistance grow.
“We would like it very much if anyone else in the community would like to join this project,” said Parks. For more information call Valerie at 458-0856. ■