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Pay it Forward

Posted: May 7, 2018

Students who Pay it Forward!

Students who Pay it Forward!

by Chris Rogers 

Fulton-Montgomery Community College is guided by 12 core values; one of these values is civility.  We believe a culture that emphasizes treating others with courtesy and respect permits an individual to reach his or her full potential.  A few years back, FM’s college Senate created a standing committee to raise awareness and consciousness in regards to the practice of civility.  It was appropriately called… go figure… the Civility Committee.  The current committee recently completed a “Pay it Forward” campaign that ran throughout the month of April.

When a beneficiary of a good deed repays it to someone other than the original benefactor, he or she is paying it forward.  For example, if I owe you a debt of $100 and you allow me to repay my $100 debt to a third party, you are paying it forward. 

Catherine Ryan Hyde authored a book in 1999 called Pay it Forward.  The book was adapted into a film of the same name starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment.  In the movie, young Trevor McKinnie (Osment) is troubled with a difficult home life of an alcoholic mother (Hunt) and abusive, absentee father.  His social studies teacher (Spacey) assigns his students the task to conceive a way to change the world and put it into action.  Trevor comes up with the notion of paying a favor forward, not back.  He decides he will repay good deeds not with payback, but instead with committing good deeds to three other people.  His goal is that these deeds paid forward will accomplish elements that the other person would be unable to achieve on his own.  In the end, Trevor’s benevolence begins a revolution that extends throughout his community.

Civility can be summed up in the Golden Rule – treating others as you would like to be treated. Paying it forward takes civility and raises it to another level.  One person is helping another with no hope for repayment or like behavior in return.  It is an act committed with a selfless spirit.

Paying if Forward does not require a large gesture.  It could be simply opening the door for someone with their hands full, giving up your place in line at the grocery store, or paying for another’s beverage at the coffee shop.  It can be acts committed to people, animals, or the planet.

Our students at FM pay it forward on a regular basis.  Our campaign relied on the Civility Committee members catching our students in the act of committing these selfless acts.  Our goal was to find 20 students throughout April.  We were inspired by our observations.  For instance, one of our students sat and consoled a fellow FM student in the midst of a medical crisis until the arrival of medical personnel.  Four of our students donated several hours of their time and energy supporting “Civility Week” initiatives.  Two second year nursing students have gone beyond the call of duty in supporting their first year counterparts with study advice and assistance in test preparation.  A baseball player has been encouraging his teammates throughout the year to stay on track academically.  The list goes on.

I think most would agree that our communities and our world could benefit from an influx of civility.  Let’s take the cue from these FM students.  Perform a selfless act today: pay it forward.  

Chris Rogers is Coordinator for Student Athlete Academic Success.

(Student recipients included: Robert Akomezogho, Caitlin Anadio-Pitkin, Richard Bellinger, Devin Brunetto-Burd, Valerie Elwood, Michele Ferraino, Stephanie Gonzalez, Amy Grumbling, Fahad Mehmood, Amanda Mody, Jay Pagayon, Ashlee Ralbovsky, Scott Robinson, Wayne Samuel, Gabrielle Smith, Dasha Stubbs, Ricky Umholtz, Muhammed Usman, Yan Wie Tse, and Danielle Zhao.)



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