This Sunday, April 28th is International Pay It Forward Day - a movement to unite people in 86 countries around the world that are all standing together for kindness. At SEEK, we believe that paying it forward and being empathic go together. Because when you stand for kindness, you often also stand for empathy.
In honor of #PayItForward day, we asked our team to share with us how they stand for kindness and give back to their communities. Here’s what they said:
“My roommate and I often foster dogs when we’re able. We do it through an organization called Second Hand Paws. The experience has been nothing short of incredible. It can sometimes feel like a mix of being incredibly joyful, sad but all around so rewarding. It can be a lot of fun figuring out the personality of something that wants nothing but to love you, but can't tell you exactly what it needs (which can also prove to be frustrating at times).
Our first dog, Goldie, came from a really horrific abuse situation. It was amazing watching her get comfortable. We saw little glimpses of the unconditionally loving, happy dog we knew she could be. I actually had the immense pleasure of introducing her to her forever home with our Senior VP of Operations, Courtney!
Aside from fostering dogs, I volunteer with Word Play Cincinnati during the school year, a non-profit that empowers young people to cultivate self-expression through writing, storytelling, and other creative outlets. This past spring I worked with 8-12-year-olds in a Saturday workshop where they created multimedia self portraits in addition to writing and sharing stories from their lives using creative prompts. There is nothing more exhilarating than watching kids speak (or write) their truths candidly and confidently against the backdrop of a world that tells them not to. It reminds me every day to empower people to be themselves and to accept them with open arms, this guides a lot of my practice of empathy too.
In my head, it's not really paying it forward, it's doing what you should do to create the world you want. I know I have more to do but this is where I'm starting.” - Kellie Coppola
“I pay it forward by using the design and innovation skills I have learned at SEEK to volunteer on the quality improvement teams at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange. I have benefited so much from learning human-centered design principles and how to identify deep human insights and use them to drive innovation, and I'm so proud to bring that expertise to an area that I have a personal connection and infinite passion for: improving lives for children with chronic disease.” - Justin Masterson
“I pay it forward by volunteering on the Board of Directors for Portaluca, a nonprofit supporting Dress for Success Cincinnati. Portaluca is a charity boutique whose only mission is to raise funds for Dress for Success and empower women to achieve economic independence. It’s really an ingenious business model that transforms excess clothing donations into much needed funding to support Dress for Success clients beyond the suit. I am able to use my previous retail, marketing, and merchandising experience to drive store sales which, in turn, benefit our community.” - Courtney PeGan Stevens
“I coach a handful of small business owners and leaders on how to grow, both personally and professionally. I have learned so much over the years of being a CEO and I want to pass that on to a new generation of entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives so that they can thrive in all facets of life.” - Tim Urmston
“I coach Club Volleyball for a team of 16-year olds. We travel around the Midwest region for weekend tournaments ranging from January through May. I pay it forward as a coach, because I’ve been playing volleyball since fourth grade and have had many coaches who were influential in my life beyond the court. I hope that through coaching, the girls I coach know that someone is always in their corner no matter what they’ve got going on.” - Jordann Ndoye
You’ll notice that everyone’s response was different and uniquely theirs. That’s because paying it forward doesn’t have to mean volunteering or doing something you feel obligated to do - it can be as simple as coaching a team, sharing your skills or taking action towards a cause you’re already passionate about. And when you stand for kindness, oftentimes that kindness fulfills you. Join us in our #StandForKindness by sharing how you pay it forward. We’d love to hear from you - join our discussion on LinkedIn!