A visionary group of teenagers in Arkansas identified the biggest problem facing youth and society today — the lack of encouragement. The students felt the best solution for addressing the root of many negative problems today was to confront the discouragement first, and to empower one another through words and acts of inspiration and support. They launched a national day of encouragement and chose September 12 in hopes of balancing the discouraging feelings of 9/11.
This “Day of Encouragement” was conceptualized in June, 2007 by a group of high school students attending a leadership camp at Harding University in Searcy, Ark. The students were challenged to determine what they believe to be the biggest problems facing high school students today and to devise a solution. While alcohol, drugs and violence were identified as serious problems, one group determined the basic problem facing youth in schools, and society in general, was a “lack of encouragement.”
The day is now endorsed by both Presidents George W. Bush, and his father, George H. W. Bush, and by celebrities such as comedian Jeff Foxworthy, and is gaining momentum. The elder Bush said of the Day, “Acts of kindness and encouragement can go a long way toward helping an individual achieve success.”
Andrew Baker, organizer of the National Day of Encouragement and executive director of the non-profit Encouragement Foundation, said, “Our goal is to challenge people not to just think about the idea of encouragement, but to do something that will encourage someone else … even if it’s simply speaking a kind word.”
Participation in this year’s National Day of Encouragement is widespread; from small towns to major cities, schools to corporations, public figures to private citizens. Watch the video and then, continue with the story below:
Communities nationwide are planning Red Cross blood drives, sending text messages and care packages to those affected by recent hurricanes as well as to first responders, and asking people to sign encouragement cards that the National Guard and personal military advocates will distribute to troops abroad and at VA hospitals.
Marine Reservist, Paden Timms of Arkansas said, “The cards are great! They help remind us of home and that is really cool. When you are in a hot, hostile and strange place it is nice to get notes from the kids back home.”
To find out more about the National Day of Encouragement or to check out tools and resources online, visit www.LetsEncourage.com.