This January, I joined a group on campus called Pay It Forward (PIF).
I joined for various reasons, but one, as lame as it sounds, was because I needed something to do.
Members of the group are encouraged to do good deeds around town or on campus, with the point of encouraging the one receiving the act of kindness to “Pay it Forward” and do a good deed to help someone else.
As their blog states: “Pay It Forward is a movement that seeks to encourage the Shippensburg community [and beyond] to make acts of kindness an active part of daily life.”
As I went to regular meetings, and actually went out and did acts of kindness, I could feel a shift in perspective.
I was always a person who advocated for self-sufficiency and “the bootstraps theory,” but the more I helped others, and encouraged them to do the same, the more it became a lifestyle than just “something to do.”
I had not set out to really change the world, but I can see that extending a helping hand, or just randomly paying for a strangers Starbucks drink or a meal can start a trend of joy and community.
Volunteering is another way that I was able to give back to the community that I have been part of for the last eight years.
One of those places was the Shippensburg Produce and Outreach (SPO).
When I started to consistently do random acts of kindness, it became less random, I began to notice need around me, I wanted to passionately help others, then I shifted my perspective about making it a lifestyle, rather than something random.
I actively sought out opportunities to begin daily life with the aspiration to help others: Bagging groceries for those in need, encouraging others to environmental conscientiousness, cleaning up around town, and picking that random stranger to assist in whatever need was visible.
Soon summer will be starting, and many here will be returning to home or staying here in Shippensburg.
Most students have jobs, but some people get really bored or feel they cannot find anything to do.
I would suggest trying the PIF lifestyle and proactive acts of kindness.
First find a copy of the movie “Pay It Forward” and watch it to gain a further understanding of this movement.
Then, find a place in your hometown to volunteer, once or twice a week.
Write inspirational messages and hand them out at work, or place encouraging posters on the post office bulletin board.
Clean up the weeds in the tree wells or gardens near your residence.
Just do something that will make your area of the world a better community.
Do not complain that you have nothing to do, or that you work too hard, just figure out a way to improve your home and go out and do it.
You will not only enrich our community, but you yourself will experience change in attitude and enhance your life.
If you do not feel like doing it alone, invite friends and colleagues, form a group at work that reaches out to develop a better community, create an initiative that encourages others to do the same, and have a blessed experience.
If you are in Shippensburg, consider helping the SPO group on Tuesday afternoons (you can look up more info here: http://shipout.org/ or on Facebook).
So do not worry about being bored this summer.
Go out and make this world a better place; it may just make a change in perspective for you.
When you come back, I encourage you to join up with the members of Pay It Forward Ship U.
Make a difference in your university community.
By helping others you can help yourself.
A simple act of kindness is all it takes.