Paying it forward

Kindness is contagious.

That’s the message behind the Pay it Forward movement. Tomorrow, April 25, Port Saint John will be the heart of the Pay it Forward campaign in the Port City.

The Marco Polo Cruise Terminal will spring to life tomorrow as hundreds of local kids visit to celebrate International Pay it Forward Day. Charley Johnson, head of the global Pay it Forward movement will be delivering the keynote address.

Kindness and good deeds are at the centre of the Pay it Forward philosophy.

Locally, educator Michael Whelton is leading the movement. He says Pay it Forward Day is only the beginning. Keep reading for a Q&A with Michael.

On April 25, keep up with Pay it Forward Day by following @PIFSJ and @PortSaintJohn on Twitter.


1. What does Pay it Forward mean to you?

Pay it Forward is all about making the world we live in a little bit better.  The beauty of Pay it Forward is that everyone can do something, no matter how big or small, to make a positive difference in another person’s life today.  It doesn’t take money, it doesn’t take status.  If we all lean in and think about kindness as a way of life, our community would truly be an even more special place to call home.

2. What will the atmosphere be like at the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal on Thursday?

I’m expecting a lot of great energy on Thursday!  It’s a great venue, and we have a lot of excited and positive students coming in to hear about the kindness message.  We also have KidSing performing, the Saint John Firefighters and Sobeys providing lunch, and lots of t-shirts available.  We are hoping for a sea of purple to show that Saint John really cares about being the kindest community in Canada.

3. Do you hope this will inspire people in Saint John and make us the kindest community in Canada? 

That is certainly my hope, and the hope of all our organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and supporters.  We believe that by creating awareness around kindness, and taking the emphasis off of “Anti-anything” campaigns, that day to day kindness can really become a way of life for our community.

4. Tell us more about the special guest. 

We are thrilled to have Charley Johnson, founder of the International Pay it Forward movement, here in Saint John to celebrate Pay it Forward Day with us.  He created the Pay it Forward bracelet, which has been sent to over 1.9 million people in 125 countries.  Charley was the person who really inspired me to think bigger when I first got the idea of bringing Pay it Forward to Saint John.  I’m really excited that Saint John will experience meeting him and hearing him speak about how kindness can change the world.

5. Is this the start of something big in Saint John? 

Absolutely, this is only the beginning!  We see Saint John’s first annual celebration of International Pay it Forward Day, and the 24 Hours of Kindness campaign, as our first step to creating the kindest community in Canada.  We already know we are kind and thoughtful in Saint John, and we have what it takes to make a real difference in people’s lives every day.

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