With the holiday season quickly approaching the city is buzzing with Torontonians running to parties and partaking in last-minute gift shopping. But, sometimes we get so wrapped up around this time of the year we forget what the holiday season is really about.
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to partake in an inspiring and heart-warming event, where I was able to pay it forward. I was teamed up with seven other individuals, was given $100 and two hours to go out into the city and pay it forward. But, before I continue on the night’s agenda, let me rewind a little.
Over the last few months I have participated in a professional network called the Millennial Crusade – a group of millennial professionals across various sectors in the city. Mark Edgar, Senior VP of HR at RSA Canada and Christine Burych, President of StarlingBrook Leadership Consulting, created this community of Millennials that meet once a month to discuss the opportunities and challenges they face in today’s work force.
Mark and Christine also leverage each other’s network to bring in guest speakers each month providing professional development opportunities to the group surrounding various topics such as communication in the workplace, leadership styles and networking skills.
“Tis the season for paying it forward”
Last Thursday, however, was a little different as the Millennial Crusade was split into four groups to tackle the “Pay It Forward” challenge. Each group was provided with $100 dollars (thank you to the sponsors of the evening – Optimum Talent, Korn Ferry, Ward Howell International, Deloitte, Hazell & Associates and Box of Crayons) and given two hours to go into the city and pay it forward.
My “Pay It Forward” group purchased a box of croissants and 10 cups of hot chocolate from Tim Hortons to hand out to individuals that may be in need of a warm drink and snack. The rest of the $100 was used to purchase $5 dollar gift cards to Tim Hortons, where we wrote the message “Pay It Forward When You Can” to hand out to those we saw on the street. The reactions we received from those we interacted with were invaluable. From smiles given by those happy to receive a warm drink and croissant, to a kiss on the cheek from a stranger receiving a gift card, the reactions were inspiring.
Upon returning at the end of our adventure, each group presented their methods of paying it forward.
- One group used their money to buy a bulk order from the Dollar Store in which they donated to a men’s shelter.
- Another group asked a few individuals camping on the street what they needed and went on a gift run, and another group even raised additional money on top of their $100 dollars to donate to charity.
The evening was a truly special and magical experience. The simplest acts of kindness had an impeccable impact on those that we interacted with, and I’m sure that our efforts will result in those we touched “paying it forward when they can.”