Virtually every day, I come across at least one person making important contributions to make North Central Washington a better place to live. These are people who choose to put community ahead of self interest and have discovered the magic that generosity to others is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. Nothing increases happiness and contentment as much as giving.
On Wednesday, Rebecca Maloney gave me the inside scoop on "Pay It Forward NCW," which she launched in just the past week to encourage and support random acts of kindness to strangers. Maloney, who does community outreach for North Meridian Title and Escrow, was a recipient of a stranger's kindness last summer. She recalled being in the checkout line with $60 of groceries at Fred Meyer one day last summer while toting around her three-month-old and discovered to her chagrin that she had forgotten her wallet.
The woman behind her in line — a complete stranger — saw Maloney's predicament and paid for the groceries. She didn't want to be reimbursed but encouraged Maloney to pay it forward to someone else in need. That got Maloney thinking that if each of us do kind things for total strangers without any expectation of reward, we could make an enormous difference in our communities. We live in a society in which people increasingly isolate themselves with technology, she observed. People are so busy and get fed lots of negative images in the media that they sometimes forget their humanity.
She started doing some research, discovered a the global movement "Pay it Forward," and last week launched the North Central Washington version on Facebook.
The response has been overwhelming. Everyone she tells about the effort wants to help. Wenatchee teacher Chester Farrell donated a logo for the project and she found sponsors to pay for printing posters, including North Meridian Title, J.B. Steamers and Building North Central Washington. The Facebook page has nearly 100 likes and people are starting to post items. Maloney is hoping will post random acts of kindness they witness to inspire others to make our communities better places to live, one thoughtful act a time.
Maloney comes by her positive nature honestly. "Growing up, I was always taught that one person can make a difference. It's true," she said.
Here's the interesting aspect to this. The more you pay attention to negativity, blame and nastiness, the more of those things you will get in your life. Conversely, the more you look for the good in people and things, you will find more things than you ever thought possible.
So what can you and I do to make our community a better place. We just need to practice random acts of kindness, brighten the day of someone we don't know, and encourage them to pay it forward.
Having had more than my fill of the cynics, naysayers, trolls and nattering nabobs of negativity in our society, I can't think of a project with more grassroots power to change our communities than Pay It Forward NCW.
We have the power to build a better community one kind act at a time.
You can start by liking them on Facebook and watching The World for updates from Maloney on random acts of kindness that happen in North Central Washington.
What will you do tomorrow to make your community better?
If you'd like to see my video interview with Maloney, please log on to wenatcheeworld.com and click on videos.