- Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 19:26
- Written by The Times Weekly
- Category: Campus News
Joliet Central and West High Schools launched a program intended to encourage high school students to pay it forward. The schools empowered students to make a difference in the lives of others by using an insurance company's program that promotes random acts of kindness through the simplest of gestures.
About 5,000 students received a wooden token that encourages people to perform an act of kindness for someone and then pass along the token to that individual. This concept that one token can start a chain reaction of kindness was created by Aviva USA, a life insurance and annuities company whose U.S. operations headquarters is in Des Moines, Iowa.
The token program is part of what Aviva calls Youmanity, a blend of the words "you" and "humanity." According to Aviva, Youmanity is the belief that one person, you, can make a difference through an act of kindness, big or small.
The following figures represent a small sample of the impact this program is having on the Joliet community and the greater Chicago area.
- 500 tokens were registered at Youmanity.com within the first week that followed
Just over 800 tokens have been registered in total
Three of the tokens have already been passed four times (note: that means these four have been passed and registered in the online application four times; it's possible some tokens have been passed multiple times without being registered).
Initial registrations of the tokens from the two Joliet schools have originated in 27 Illinois cities.
So far, upon being passed on, the Joliet schools' tokens have subsequently been registered in California, Wisconsin and Florida - which means the Joliet students and staff are paying forward random acts of kindness that are starting to spread around the country.
And, the inspirational stories that have filtered in show the power that one simple gesture can make.
"I was sitting in the living room when my daughter came in and said, "Mom, I know we don't get along that well, but I wanted to give you this token because I do appreciate you even though we argue all the time." It made my day."
"Random Acts of kindness are hard to find. I've had a rough time lately with everything...and today was just spent with the discouragement of my life and how things were going. Amazingly, the calmness of a kind sales clerk eased my mind and my soul. So, I will be going back tomorrow to pass on my token to him."
"I gave my token to my older sister. The reason for this is because every single day she makes an effort to make sure that she gives everyone living in our home a hug.
Even though it's a small simple act, it makes a difference."
"Someone bought me a cup of coffee at an overpass quick mart after I allowed him to go in front of me as he was in a hurry."