SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY – It all started 2334 years ago. The idea of ‘paying it forward’, according to historical records, first came to light in the ancient Greek comedy …
SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY – It all started 2334 years ago.
The idea of ‘paying it forward’, according to historical records, first came to light in the ancient Greek comedy “Dyskolos” by Menander (c.342 BC – c.292 BC), and took to the stage at the Lenaian Festival in Athens in 317-16 BC.
Previously known only from fragmentary quotations, in 1952 a mostly complete papyrus manuscript dating from the 3rd century was unearthed in Egypt, and it was learned that ‘pay it forward’ was used as a key element in the plot.
In the millennium since Menander wrote it is better to have “…a visible friend than invisible wealth which you keep buried away….”, the idea of ‘paying it forward’ has taken on new meaning as an expression for describing the recipient of a good deed repaying this generosity to others instead of the original benefactor.
Carrying the torch forward, other writers explored the concept, including Benjamin Franklin in a letter to Benjamin Webb dated April 25, 1784 “...when you…meet with another honest man in similar distress, you must pay me by lending this sum to him…”, Ralph Waldo Emerson in his 1841 essay “Compensation” and Lloyd C. Douglas’ 1929 novel “Magnificent Obsession”.
In 1951, sci-fi visionary Robert A. Heinlein and mentor to Ray Bradbury, penned in his book “Between Planets”…“instead, pay it forward to some other brother who needs it.”
In 2000, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel “Pay It Forward” was published followed by the creation of the Pay It Forward Movement and Foundation in the United States.
The International Pay It Forward Day (PIFD) was founded seven years later in Australia by Blake Beattie and the global movement has since expanded to include 70 countries spanning the planet ranging from Argentina to Vietnam.
“It is a brilliant idea…it embodies the power of giving which is the cornerstone of my book…it is amazing the difference a simple idea can have in changing the world – one good deed at a time…”, said Hayes of PIFD, which is celebrated this year on April 28.
In addition, 12 states have issued PIFD proclamations, carrying on the theme of the young boy who starred in the film “Pay It Forward”, as an adaptation of the book by the same title, in which he does three good deeds for others in need, as he once benefitted from an act of kindness to keep the cycle going.
A bit closer to home, photographer and videographer Gabriel Espinosa established Paying It Forward Sullivan County in 2015.
Prior to that date, he put out the word about local folks in need on the major Facebook pages, and “the positive responses would come flooding in…”
According to Espinosa, the anonymous group initially operated as theSecret Elf Society of Sullivan County, taking it’s original name from the Gospel of St. Matthew 6:4, “…so that your giving may be in secret, And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
“Because God has given me so much, the least I could do is help make life a bit more joyful for those around me when I perceive a need, or when a need gets put in my path,” said Espinosa.
A bit later, the name of the organization was formally changed to Pay It Forward Sullivan County with the motto “Paying It Forward: One Person at a Time”.
“There are so many people in need, so many children in desperate need of someone…in this county. There are hungry people, not just hungry for food, but hungry for reminders that they too are human beings worthy of attention and even the tiniest act of kindness is enough to change their outlook on life”, he added.
In his mission to help others, Espinosa is aided by fellow Knights from the Knights of Columbus Council #550 of Monticello, NY.
Espinosa said he started the Facebook group/page Paying It Forward Sullivan County to in his words,” put a tangible and easily accessible face on the need and what to do about it.”
“No kid should go without when there is a loving community who can help…”he added.
For more information about Paying It Forward Sullivan County visit their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1674434289440274/
For information about the Knights of Columbus Council #550: https://www.facebook.com/KOFC550, search using KOFC550.
To contact the groups, send a private message through the above noted links, or folks can email Gabriel Espinosa directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
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