St. Edmond student starts chain reaction of kindness
By MICHELLE DELANEY, Globe staff reporter
FORT DODGE – When the bell rings and Casey McEvoy takes to the halls of St. Edmond Catholic School in Fort Dodge, several underclassmen and classmates call his name, say hi, greet him with a smile and even a high five or two.
Well known throughout the school, Casey, a junior, lives his life with the philosophy that kindness matters. He is a member of the cross-country team, track team, student council, National Honor Society, Respect for Life Group, Friends of Rachel club and choir. Even though Casey is very busy with sports, committees and volunteering, he still strives to do more.
Recently, he set out to bring a movement to St. Edmond that would encourage students to do small acts of kindness.
Pay It Forward
At the end of January, Casey watched a video online that moved him and spurred him to take action in his school. The video described the simplicity and positive effect implementing Pay It Forward has on a community.
“I watched a video about it and I thought how easy it would be to bring to school,” said Casey. “We live in an age where people are looking for the most efficient way, the easiest way, to do something. Pay It Forward is a really simple concept.”
Casey immediately contacted Mike Szalat, social studies teacher and student council supervisor at St. Edmond High School, and shared the Pay It Forward video that inspired him.
It didn’t take long for Szalat to get on board with the idea. He watched the video, learned about the positive message it promotes and knew it would be simple to get started at St. Edmond.
“I said this is a good idea, let’s do this,” said Szalat.
How Pay It Forward works is a person is given a bracelet with Pay It Forward written on it. The bracelet acts as a physical reminder to go out of the way to do a simple act of kindness for someone. Once a person does a good deed for someone else, they will hand off the bracelet and ask them to keep the movement going.
“It starts with the little things which sometimes mean so much. The goal is for high school students to go out into the community and start a chain reaction with others that they don’t know. Younger students will, more than likely, give to friends, teachers or family members,” said Casey.
With the student council and school board enthusiastic about the idea, Szalat contacted the Pay it Forward Foundation and had 800 bracelets sent to the school. Each student and faculty member received a bracelet and was encouraged to start the chain reaction of acts of kindness.
“Just think about how great it would be if we all were doing nice things for each other instead of focusing on how to get back at somebody else,” said Szalat. “I’m always reminding my students to look for opportunities to help their neighbor.”
The Pay It Forward Foundation is a non-profit organization. Through their sponsor’s support, they are able to make and ship bracelets to anyone who wants to bring this movement to their community. They have reached over one million people in 112 countries.
Since bringing Pay It Forward to St. Edmond, Casey has personally experienced people doing acts of kindness for him and has heard encouraging stories from other students. He has had students tell him how this has helped them realize how easy it is to help someone else and how the smallest thing can be the most meaningful.
“I think the other students were ready to do this,” said Casey. “Is it not one of our purposes in life to make the lives of others easier for each other? I think that’s why we’re here.”
John Howard, principal at St. Edmond High School, was supportive in bringing this program to the school. He noted that it helps reiterate the importance of the Catholic Christian concept of helping one’s neighbor.
Howard has noticed a change in the school atmosphere since bringing Pay It Forward to the school.
“I’ve noticed a change in our halls,” said Howard. “I think our environment has changed and I’m seeing students do little things for each other that they might not have done before.”
Howard explained that this program has gone far beyond the walls of St. Edmond School. He was proud to announce that he received an email from a parent of a student who heard about the program and decided to bring it to the bank she works at.
“I just thought it was tremendous that because of Casey, Mr. Szalat and the St. Edmond community, others are implementing this in their businesses. It shows that a few people can make a big difference in the world.”
Pay It Forward is a movement that can go anywhere whether it is a school, business or organization. Since it is such a simple, uncomplicated movement, the possibilities are endless.
To learn more about the Pay It Forward Foundation and watch the video explaining the cause visit: www.payitforwardfoundation.org/experience/.
|Back to top|
|Headlines | Home|