10 Great Actions for Students on Pay It Forward Day

Pay it Forward Day is every year on April 28th. It is a global event that was officially started back in 2007. I believe it unofficially started a bit earlier than that after the movie “Pay it Forward” came out in 2000. The purpose of this day is to promote the idea of doing good deeds for others that in turn inspires others to do the same.

Here are 10 great ways to spread kindness that will hopefully start ripple effect that spreads far and wide!

“Sometimes you can’t pay it back, so you just have to pay it forward.”

– Randy Pausch

Great Actions for Students on Pay It Forward Day

1. Give a Teacher, Professor or School Staff Member a Card or Gift Card

Let’s face it educators and school staff don’t get paid enough to do their jobs. However, I would argue they have some of the most important jobs in the country. They help cultivate the next generation of thinkers and leaders.

The very least we can do is thank them with a kind note or a small gift card. Doing it on Pay it Forward Day is extra special because it is before “Teacher Appreciation Week”. While that week is important, it is nice to do something for them when they don’t expect it.

A kind note, a flower or a small gift card is nice way to remind them how much you appreciate all that they do for students. I can’t imaging the problem our society would have if we didn’t have teachers. They pay it forward every day they step into a school.

2. Place Kindness Rocks

The Kindness Rocks Project mission is “one message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life.”

A couple of weeks before Pay it Forward Day, get a group of friends together and have a rock painting event while watching a movie or binge watching a favorite tv show.

To find a great location to place the rocks, search for a Kindness Rock Facebook Group in your area. That group can help give you ideas on places to hide your creations. Then on April 28th or close to it, go to that location and place the rocks.

If you want to do it as a school organization activity, talk to your sponsor first and suggest the idea. I would bet money that they would love for you to organize an event that promotes kindness to others. You might be able to get permission from a school administer to place the rocks around the school’s campus. These days students can greatly benefit from seeing messages of kindness.

One unique feature of this project is that they have a philosophy of leaving no trace. Visit Leave No Trace to see how you can participate in this project, while limiting the impact to the environment. One important thing to remember is to make sure you use eco-friendly paint when decorating your rocks.

3. Make Homemade Dog Toys for an Animal Shelter

If painting rocks isn’t your thing then try making dog toys for your local animal shelter. Instead of a rock painting get together, you could have a dog toy making binge-watching event with your friends or a school group.

Lots of animal shelters need toys for dogs while they are waiting to be adopted. This keeps dogs from getting bored while waiting for their forever home. Shelters need lots of toys because they often need to be replaced. The new toys also give potential pet owners that extra comfort level that the shelter is treating the dogs with care.

Contact your local animal shelter to double-check they will accept handmade toys before getting started. This is easy to do while watching a movie!

You would need 1-4 different colors of material (fleece or t-shirt) and it ideally should be 24″ to 36″ long. Cut the material so you have 4 strips of equal size that are 1-2″ wide by 24-36″ long. There are plenty of YouTube videos that show exactly how to make these toys. Keep in mind they might be using a different size of fabric, but the process is the same. The end result is a tug toy that the dogs will love!

Check out the above YouTube video that shows you step by step how to make these dog toys.

4. Donate Food to Pets of the Homeless

Pets of the Homeless is a non-profit organization that was started back in 2008. They help the homeless find pet friendly shelters and pet food providers. These pet food providers partner with local food banks, pantries and shelters so the pet food gets to those in need.

If you are reading this, I bet you have come across a homeless person with a pet. These pets sometimes are the person’s only source of comfort, loyalty and love so they are reluctant to give up their animals. Their pet just might be the key to helping them get back on their feet again.

Pets of the Homeless mission “believes in the healing power of companion pets and of the human/animal bond which is very important in the lives of many homeless.” Their task is to “is to feed and provide basic emergency veterinary care to their pets and thus relieve the anguish and anxiety of the homeless who cannot provide for their pets”

Find a pet food donation site here and help a homeless pet today.

5. Help a Friend with Homework

Do you have a knack for a particular subject in school? Do you know someone that struggles with that subject? Consider reaching out to that friend and offering your help.

Another option would be to post on your neighborhood Nextdoor website that you are celebrating Pay It Forward Day by offering a hour of free tutoring for a neighborhood student. It just might turn into a tutoring job!

6. Send 3 Cards to Senior Citizens

If you like this idea, consider if you would rather send a card to someone you know or to one of the many seniors in our country that are in need of something to brighten their day.

If you choose a family member, that’s great! It’s super easy too, because you can easily get the address. If you want to choose a non-family member, check out Love for Our Elders. Every month, they post names and addresses of seniors that could use a little something to brighten their day. They are give some guidelines and the seniors back story to help you create an appropriate card/letter.

Ideally, write at least a few sentences to make it extra personal. You can make it more festive with colored pens, stickers or a drawing.

7. Volunteer at a Food Pantry

Random Acts of Kindness Day - Food Pantry Food

This one takes a little bit of planning, but it will help a growing problem in our country. Find a local food pantry by going to the Feeding America website. This link will take you directly to their page where you can find the nearest food bank to your zip code.

Once you find your local food bank, check out their website to see what volunteer opportunities are available on or near Pay It Forward Day. Just pick one that sounds interesting and give it a shot. They will be so happy to have your help. Some of the typical tasks might be picking up, unloading and sorting food donations.

When you volunteer, I encourage you to share on social media and tag the food bank. This just might inspire someone you know to pay it forward as well. It also promotes the food bank on social media and they need all they help they can get.

8. Host a Food Drive for a Local Food Pantry

If you are a student in elementary, middle or high school, there are different methods to take whether you live in a house or an apartment.

If you live in a house, then I would suggest posting your food drive information on your neighborhood NextDoor page. Another option is you could contact the HOA board and ask them if you could host a food drive. They might be willing to help you get the information out on your food drive. Make sure the HOA board understands you will collect the food and take it to the food bank.

If you live in an apartment, check with the front office and see if they will partner with you on collecting items in the office for a short period of time. Make sure they know you will take care of taking the food to the food bank and reporting back to them how many pounds of food you collected.

Again, to find a local food pantry, go to the Feeding America website. This link will take you directly to their page where you can find the nearest food bank to your zip code.

Once you find your local food bank, check out their website to see what food items they currently need. Pick items that you or your neighbors could easily find. The food bank will be so happy to have your donations.

9. Share a Positive Post on Pay It Forward Day

We are so used to seeing people talking about themselves on social media. On Pay it Forward Day, consider posting a simple message encouraging others to “pay it forward”. If you need some inspiration, just google “pay it forward quotes” and you will find a ton of ideas.

I highly recommend using Canva to create your graphic for the social media post. It is so easy to use and it’s free. If you haven’t used Canva before, just give it a shot. I have used it for years for so many things and it is a piece of software that is super useful for all kinds of projects.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #payitforwardday !

10. Pay for the Person Behind You

Last but not least, this idea is probably what you think of most often when someone says “pay it forward”. Paying for the person behind you in line is simple, quick and super easy. I have had this happen to me in the Starbucks drive through and guess what I immediately did? Yep, I paid for the person behind me!

That simple gesture totally inspired me to pay it forward. On April 28th, just give it a try once…you might just start doing it more often.

If you are a college student, pay for the student behind you at the campus coffee shop or other favorite campus food spot. Most college students have meal swipe cards, so it should be easy to do.

This post is all about ways students can take action on

Pay it Forward Day.

Help pay it forward this year by doing something extra special on April 28th, Pay it Forward Day! Just try one of these ideas that work best with your life right now. If you are looking for more inspiration, check out the official Pay It Forward Day website here.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

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