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The foundation impacts our world in a time when many people, though aware of the need for social change, are unsure of where and how to begin. The challenges facing today's youth are daunting. While discussion and planning are positive steps toward belief in social change, only the manifestation of plans into action proves to the imagination that change is possible, and that will and motivation can affect social growth. The Pay It Forward Foundation understands that good ideas inspire more good ideas; it serves both as a forum and a source of funding for the development and fruition of inspiration.
Students have the opportunity to identify what they consider to be the challenges of their communities. They tackle such problems as homelessness, pollution, youth violence, literacy issues, the loneliness experienced by long-term hospital and nursing home patients, and the alienation of today's at-risk youth from the community. The Pay It Forward Foundation provides seed money for such worthwhile projects.
To date, the Foundation has provided grants and/or materials to hundreds of schools in the U.S., Australia, Canada and numerous other countries. All Pay It Forward Foundation grants encourage and empower our youth to believe in themselves and their individual and collective abilities to shape the future.
“Parables Community Theater has the Pay It Forward fever and we will continue to pass it on!” – Adrienne Richardson, Parables Community Theater, High Point, NC
With a grant from the Pay It Forward Foundation, some 25 members of the Parables Community Theater ages 7-16, along with four adult volunteers, presented “Dorothy’s Easter Parade” at Evergreens Nursing Home in April 2006.
The youth filled Easter baskets with Easter bunnies in a plastic egg and personal items needed by the senior citizens. Easter cards were also included with a request to continue the Pay It Forward idea.
The nursing home residents enjoyed skits, songs and dancing performed by the troupe, and the Parade concluded with the seniors joining in the singing of “Down the Trail we’re coming.”
Parables Community Theater is a faith-based nonprofit troupe founded in response to negative community influences in 2003 by community volunteers with theater, music, early childhood development, and accounting and business backgrounds. Its mission is to strengthen and enhance the lives of undeserved youth and build a bridge to the world beyond their communities through theater arts.
San Jose, California
“In October we raised $610 for the Gorilla Foundation. They have promised us that they will keep it going and Koko will pay it forward too!” – Mrs. Robbins and the August Boeger Jr. High Leadership Class, San Jose, California.
The August Boeger Jr. High Leadership Class sponsors a Pay It Forward project every month. Monthly projects have included filling four barrels of canned food for Second Harvest Food Bank to help feed the homeless, and helping four local families in need by selling candy canes to generate funds, and by collecting home and personal items as well as gift certificates from local stores, all so the families could have a wonderful Christmas.
Exeter, Devon, England
“We are now looking at setting up a few bigger projects to take out into our surrounding community.” – Bryce Wilby, Year Eight Head, Priory School, Exter, Devon, England
Discovering the Pay It Forward concept on the Internet, Priory School teacher Bryce Wilby was so impressed he decided to incorporate a Pay It Forward project into the school’s curriculum. He and his pupils have set up peer mentoring groups, school garden and grounds clean-up crews and a homework help club.