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Pay it Forward and Change the World

Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote a novel in 2000 that changed the world. In her novel, Pay It Forward, a 12 year-old boy was given an extra credit opportunity in his Social Studies class. The assignment: to create a plan that would change society. The boy presents a simple idea that he does a good deed for three other people, and instead of them returning the favor to him, he tells them to do a good deed for three other people.

From this novel came a movie by the same title and a holiday celebrated this April 28, Pay It Forward Day. Make a goal to pay it forward three times this week. Here are some ideas to get you thinking. Remember, the gesture doesn’t need to be grand to make a difference.

Frequent flyer family
If you’ve racked up your fair share of frequent flyer miles, why not give those to someone who needs to visit their family?

There is a free lunch
When you go out for lunch today, why not invite a less-fortunate person and pay for their meal? If it makes you uncomfortable to dine with a stranger, look for a table in the restaurant and anonymously pick up their tab.

The grass is greener
Since you’ve finished mowing your lawn, go ahead and cross the fence to mow your neighbor’s yard. They’ll be surprised when they get home.

Tickets to go
You just found out you won’t be able to use those tickets to the concert, sporting event or theater. Don’t let the tickets go to waste. Give them to someone who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to go. If you can’t think of anyone, call the ticket office and let them give the tickets to an unsuspecting guest.

Oftentimes, pay it forward moments are better received if done anonymously and unexpectedly. But be sure to leave a note to tell the recipient to pay it forward. Your three good deeds could change the world.

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    LSA is a grantee of the Legal Services Corporation.