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Second Annual National Day of Encouragement Calls for Americans to 'Pay It Forward'
Date:9/10/2008

Nationwide Movement Thanks Military Troops, Responders and Victims of the

Hurricanes and People in Our Daily Lives

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- One visionary group of teenagers in Arkansas identified a common problem facing youth and society today -- the lack of encouragement. These students felt the best way to combat many of the negative problems facing society was to confront the discouragement that was at the root of these problems. They created a national day of encouragement for Americans of all ages and races to unite by empowering one another through words and acts of kindness, inspiration and support.

Endorsed by President George W. Bush, supported by celebrities such as stand-up comedian, actor and host of hit show "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?", Jeff Foxworthy, and embraced by communities around the nation, this truly unique idea is gaining considerable momentum.

President George Herbert Walker Bush said of the Day, "Acts of kindness and encouragement can go a long way toward helping an individual achieve success."

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." They proposed a solution -- a day of encouragement.

"The date of September 12 was selected in hopes of balancing the discouraging feelings of 9/11," said Andrew Baker, organizer of the National Day of Encouragement and executive director of the Encouragement Foundation, a group that raises the awareness about the benefits of encouraging others. "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, Americans getting involved. 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."

For more information on the National Day of Encouragement or to get involved in the movement, visit http://www.letsencourage.com. After all, smiles are contagious -- do your part to spread one.

ABOUT THE ENCOURAGEMENT FOUNDATION

The Encouragement Foundation exists to raise awareness about the benefits of encouraging others. The non-profit foundation provides tools and resources to create opportunities to encourage. The foundation also strives to challenge people of all ages to make encouraging others part of their daily lives.


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SOURCE The Encouragement Foundation
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