Did you ever wonder what sparked many people to begin celebrating Pay It Forward Day worldwide? Though there was definitely an organized effort on the part of the day's founder, much of the most effective promotion was done by a movie by the same name. (The movie itself was actually based on a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde.)
Pay It Forward basically explains what Pay It Forward Day all about with the story of a young boy named Trevor, who had an assignment given to him by a social studies teacher that prompts him to create the concept of paying it forward. The movie follows Trevor's good deeds, and how they profoundly affect those around him. The movie then shows how different people paid forward Trevor's good deeds, and how it became a community-wide phenomenon.
The phenomenon spreads to people of every walk of life. From gang members to suburban mothers, to children who wait for doctors in the hospital, to Trevor's own social studies teacher, everyone somehow manages to become touched by the epidemic of random acts of kindness sparked by the Pay It Forward idea. Soon, Trevor's idea becomes a mode to rebuild bonds, strengthen ties with one another, and also help people overcome personal demons.
In many ways, Pay It Forward is an excellent example of what the holiday aims to achieve. It's a movie that shows that everyone has a good side to them – even those who we don't normally consider to be good people in general. The idea of allowing them the opportunity to pay good deeds forward gives them the ability to show their good side...their kind, gentle, human side. And when push comes to shove, people love to improve their lives and the lives of those around them, and that's what kind gestures innately do.
Though watching Pay It Forward is by no means a mandatory part of celebrating Pay It Forward Day, but it is an excellent way to bring the idea to a new group of people. If you haven't seen this movie quite yet, take the time this year to find a copy of the video in your local library, at an online store, or at your nearest movie rental store. It's worth watching, especially when April 25th rolls around.