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International Pay it Forward Day

The concept of "pay it forward" is nothing new. The phrase may first have appeared in print in 1916, in the book In the Garden of Delight, although the concept goes back much further. Since 2007, there has been a yearly event devoted to it. International Pay it Forward Day is a "global initiative that exists to make a difference by creating a huge ripple of kindness felt across the world." Each year, people in over 80 countries participate by performing over 10 million acts of kindness. When small acts of kindness and giving are performed by millions of people, there is a potential for the world to be changed for the better, which is the ultimate goal of Pay it Forward Day.

Australia's Blake Beattie created the day, being inspired by Catherine Ryan Hyde's book Pay It Forward, which was published in 1999 and adapted into a feature film the following year. Pay it Forward Day was first held in 2007, and by its second year was being marked by people in five countries. By the fifth year, people in 35 countries were celebrating and there had been seven state proclamations and fifteen city proclamations. By 2017, people in over 80 countries were celebrating each year, and over 100 city and state proclamations had been made in honor of the day.

Participants are asked to do between one and three good deeds on the day without asking for anything in return—the recipient is told to "pay it forward" instead. People participate by paying for someone else's coffee, meal, groceries, or gas; helping out someone in need; or making donations. "Pay it forward" activities are organized at schools, offices, churches, and other locations.

How to Observe International Pay it Forward Day

Take part in the day by doing between one and three good deeds without asking for anything in return, but instead telling the recipient to "pay it forward." You could mark off each deed on an official International Pay it Forward Day card and hand the card off to the recipient of your act. If you aren't sure what type of acts of kindness or good deeds to do, the official website for the day has ideas for individuals, teachers, and businesses that you could explore. As an individual, you could also fill out an interest form, share your International Pay it Forward Day story, and obtain a proclamation in your city, state, or country. You could read Pay It Forward, watch its film adaptation, and become involved with the Pay It Forward Foundation. Follow the International Pay it Forward Day Facebook page for up-to-date information about the day.

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