By Paige Patterson
At Humanity Unified, we pay empowerment forward by raising funds for our current partner, Aspire, an organization that provides women in Rwanda with the opportunity to learn and work so that they may rise out of poverty. By supporting our Bookmarks That Keep on Giving Campaign, you have the opportunity to not only support our cause, but to pass along the message of empowerment to your friends, family and even strangers.
So why not get creative with it?
If you're stuck looking for that perfect way to let someone know just how awesome, loved or strong they are, we've come up with a few suggestions for you!
On those days when you're feeling stressed out and tired, mirrors may not be your favorite thing. Why not write a note of encouragement and stick it on a mirror in your dorm's, your office's, your friend's or a sibling's bathroom accompanied by a Humanity Unified bookmark? Go for some encouraging messages, like "Keep smiling beautiful" or "You can do it gorgeous".
Believe it or not, people actually still visit libraries to catch up on a good book. Since the books pass through the hands of so many different people, they can be a great vehicle to spread messages of love and empowerment. Grab a book off a shelf -- try to pick a title that you think would be read often -- write a kind note and stick it back between the pages with an HU bookmark for somebody to stumble across.
Drive Through with Kindness
Now this one's a popular "pay it forward" act of kindness, but it is nonetheless a wonderful thing to do. While grabbing your morning coffee or picking up food at a drive through, why not make someone's day by paying for the order of the person behind you? When you get to the window to pay, say that you also want to pay for the order of the car behind you, then give the employee a bookmark to pass along to the driver of the next car.
"Pay" it Forward
Speaking of employees at restaurants or stores; some of us have been one, and some of us are still are, so we know that their customer service jobs aren't always easy. The next time you make a purchase, why not write a sweet, encouraging note on the bookmark and pass it along with the receipt or bill to help brighten the person's shift with some love and kindness.
By Bus, Train or Airplane
Many people take public transportation and in a single day will see many different faces. But all too often we let these faces pass by without ever exchanging any kind of meaningful conversation. Next time you're on a bus, train or plane strike up conversation with somebody who's sitting alone, pass along a bookmark and maybe even take the time to explain Humanity Unified and its mission.
Get Sneaky with It
You could also get a little sneaky with it and place a kind note, with a bookmark wrapped up in it, on the ground, then tap someone's shoulder and tell the person that you saw it drop from his/her pocket. Then walk away knowing you left a little piece of encouragement and unexpected kindness with a total stranger.
If you don't feel quite comfortable with giving a bookmark to a stranger, your friends and your family are just as important and there are plenty of creative ways to give them bookmarks as well.
Laundry List of Love
Cleaning is something that needs to be done, but most people wish they could avoid it. Take the time to clean something when it's not your turn or scheduled chore. You could do someone else's dishes or laundry, just be sure to leave a signed bookmark on top of the pile of folded clothes or next to the completed chore.
Cooking with Care
Cooking can also be a task that people don't always want to take on. One night cook dinner for your family, friends or significant other and when you set the table place a bookmark beside their forks.
Thank You Card
You likely have family and friends that you appreciate and owe much of your happiness. Make or buy a thank you card and tell them how much you appreciate them and everything they do for you - oh and don't forget to pop in a bookmark.
Hide and Empower
When you live with people, you know a lot about them, like what they do most days and where they keep their personal belongings. Hide some kind notes with bookmarks in places you know they will look during the day to surprise them and spark a smile.
Gift for Good
If there is something one of your family members or friends has been wanting for a long time, like a new pair of headphones or that cookie from the bakery down the street, buy it for them just because. It doesn't have to be expensive just something you know they would appreciate. Wrap it up and use one of the HU bookmarks as the card.
These are just a few ideas we came up with, but the possibilities are endless!
Tell us your ideas or share stories about the experiences you had while paying empowerment forward. Don't forget the power of affirmation goes a long way, and you can help us pass it on.
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