Nov. 22, 2011
-- Showing others that they are not alone, and offering them a smile: just two of the goals of a worldwide movement, originating in Central Florida. The Give a Smiley Project -- as it is known -- is the brainchild of Don Shetterly, who has devised a way to spread happiness for just the cost of a stamp.
“We’ve all had days where we felt like nothing was going right or we are frustrated with current circumstances,”
says Shetterly. “Sometimes just knowing that there is someone out there and we aren’t alone is enough to push us forward.” Shetterly has created downloadable smileys, to send out to others in the hope of brightening their day. The idea is to give the recipient something other than junk mail and bills in their mailbox. It’s meant to… literally… give them a smile.
The idea for the project started several years ago, on Shetterly’s birthday. A bad experience at a store threatened to put a damper on the day, but another shop clerk – a much friendlier one – changed all that. “The clerk was extremely and genuinely helpful and the smile they had on their face was intoxicating and contagious,”
writes Shetterly. “This single moment by the store clerk took a previously ugly situation and turned the gloominess into sunshine! It was a simple act but one that completely changed my day. I’ll never forget that smile. “
That one moment in time gave birth to the Give a Smiley Project. Shetterly has sent out smileys to people who in turn downloaded and sent them to people they know – and some they don’t even know. The smiley downloads are free, as is an optional, 12-week Smiley Challenge that is being offered. Shetterly compares it to the Pay It Forward movement, which went viral following the release of the movie of the same name.
The ultimate goal of the project is to change the world, one smiley at a time. “I hope that this will touch each and every continent all over the world,” says Shetterly. “All of us humans are in this world together navigating through this thing we call life. Offering ourselves for the betterment of the world, we can do great things. The Give a Smiley Project is just one way to help accomplish this.”
Smiley Project Website: http://smileyproject.com