Second Annual National Day of Encouragement Calls for Americans to 'Pay It Forward'

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 General News
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 One visionary group of teenagers inArkansas identified a common problem facing youth and society today -- thelack of encouragement. These students felt the best way to combat many of thenegative problems facing society was to confront the discouragement that wasat the root of these problems. They created a national day of encouragementfor Americans of all ages and races to unite by empowering one another throughwords and acts of kindness, inspiration and support.

Endorsed by President George W. Bush, supported by celebrities such asstand-up comedian, actor and host of hit show "Are You Smarter than a FifthGrader?", Jeff Foxworthy, and embraced by communities around the nation, thistruly unique idea is gaining considerable momentum.

President George Herbert Walker Bush said of the Day, "Acts of kindnessand encouragement can go a long way toward helping an individual achievesuccess."

This "Day of Encouragement" was conceptualized in June, 2007 by a group ofhigh school students attending a leadership camp at Harding University inSearcy, Ark. The students were challenged to determine what they believe tobe the biggest problems facing high school students today and to devise asolution. While alcohol, drugs and violence were identified as seriousproblems, one group determined the basic problem facing youth in schools, andsociety in general, was a "lack of encouragement." They proposed a solution --a day of encouragement.

"The date of September 12 was selected in hopes of balancing thediscouraging feelings of 9/11," said Andrew Baker, organizer of the NationalDay of Encouragement and executive director of the Encouragement Foundation, agroup that raises the awareness about the benefits of encouraging others."Our goal is to challenge people not to just think about the idea ofencouragement, but to do something that will encourage someone else ... evenif it's simply speaking a kind word."

Participation in this year's National Day of Encouragement is widespread;from small towns to major cities, schools to corporations, public figures toprivate citizens, Americans getting involved. Communities nationwide areplanning Red Cross blood drives, sending text messages and care packages tothose affected by recent hurricanes as well as to first responders, and askingpeople to sign encouragement cards that the National Guard and personalmilitary advocates will distribute to troops abroad and at VA hospitals.

Marine Reservist, Paden Timms of Arkansas said, "The cards are great! Theyhelp remind us of home and that is really cool. When you are in a hot, hostileand strange place it is nice to get notes from the kids back home."

For more information on the National Day of Encouragement or to getinvolved in the movement, visit After all,smiles are contagious -- do your part to spread one.


The Encouragement Foundation exists to raise awareness about the benefitsof encouraging others. The non-profit foundation provides tools and resourcesto create opportunities to encourage. The foundation also strives to challengepeople of all ages to make encouraging others part of their daily lives.

SOURCE The Encouragement Foundation

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