Pay It Forward Initiative S.M.I.

Introduction to ‘Pay It Forward’ In SMI

Here at S.M.I. we realise it has become increasingly challenging for our students, staff and wider community to be psychologically and emotionally resilient in the midst of the challenging time we live in. Never before has mental health, social support and a sense of belonging been so important to us all. Our collective response to this challenge is to promote mental health, kindness and social inclusivity.

Being kind to one another acknowledges our own capacity for kindness and also has the benefit of ‘feeling good’ for both giver and recipient. In promoting kindness we hope to change attitudes, build self-esteem and mental health resilience creating a sense of cohesiveness both in our school and in the wider community.

There is an inherent goodness in people who carry out acts of kindness, compassion and support each day, often for friends or family and other times for complete strangers. If someone does you a good deed, instead of ‘paying it back’ why not pay it forward? By doing this we are essentially pledging a conscious act of kindness to another and creating a ripple effect.

Each Year we elect a Transition Year Pay It Forward Committee made up of students and staff members who take on the challenge of participating in random acts of kindness in both the school and the community. We have been running this very successful initiative since 2018 and it is still going strong today.


Pay it Forward Committee

We then set about electing a Pay it Forward Committee which would be made up of TY students who would be responsible for co-ordinating all the Pay It Forward activities for the year.

We then introduced the idea to all other classes in the school and staff to get them onboard and they were all very enthusiastic.

We asked all the TY classes and staff about activities we could run throughout the year and we received many amazing ideas. Overall it was decided it was the small random acts of kindness around the school and in the community which would have the most positive affect on our sense of happiness and wellbeing.

The committee meets on a monthly basis to co-ordinate activities. Minutes are recorded at each meeting by the Secretary

Elected Committee

Oonagh Sammon
Kasey Danaher
Eileen Collins
Megan Murphy O’Connor
Lorna Bourke
Airidas Kacenas
Megan Aherne
Cian Brennan
Portia Edwards
Claudia Breathnach
Lauren Meehan
Elaine Breathnach
Freya Ahern
Sophia Condon
Ms Mary Barry Larkin
Sarah McAndrews
Gemma Walshe

Learning intentions

  • Define serial reciprocity (Paying It Forward)
  • View Pay it Forward movie and discuss characters and  concepts related to the impact of Paying it Forward
  • Brainstorm and investigate social issues that they can address in their school and wider community
  • Take action through service and social activism
  • Design and implement a campaign to raise awareness of impact of kindness on those around us
  • Create a wellness wall to highlight ‘Pay it Forward’ and importance of kindness in our lives
  • Discuss and implement a range of cross-curricular Pay It Forward initiatives
  • Learn a sense of community spirit
  • Appreciate the role of a committee in an organisation and understand the role of a chairperson, secretary and treasurer.
  • Appreciate that it is small everyday random acts of kindness e.g. holding the door open for someone that makes the most difference in people’s lives.


Events run so far this year include:

1: Pay it Forward movie
All TY classes watched Pay it Forward movie. We discussed the character and the plot and looked at how the acts of kindness carried out by each character positively affected those around them. We discussed and brainstormed activities to come up with ideas as to how to move forward and activities we could do.
2: Lanyard badges
Committee created lanyard badges they could wear when participating in Pay it Forward activities
3: Kindness/Wellness Wall
This is a wall where by TY students put random kindness quotations to spread happiness throughout the school. We also display photos and information on recent ‘Pay it Forward’ events
4: Kindness Quote over Intercom every week
A member of the committee read a kindness quotation over the intercom weekly for all students to reflect on.
5: Kindness Banners
Students put kindness banners up in the resource areas of the different class groups.
6: Welcome to New First Year Students
TY students created a jigsaw of all new first year student’s names to welcome them so they would appreciate they are now an integral part of our school community.
7: Cheerios Breakfast for Childline
TY students created a jigsaw of all new first year student’s names to welcome them so they would appreciate they are now an integral part of our school community.
8: Team Hope Shoebox Appeal
Ty students co-ordinated the shoebox appeal, gave out leaflets, invited in a guest speaker to tell all classes about Team Hope shoeboxes and encouraged students to bring them in. We received nearly 100 boxes. Our committee travelled to the Team Hope Depot in Mountcollins to help check and pack the boxes for distribution to Eastern European countries in need.
9: Advent Kindness Tree
All students in Ms Barry’s Religion classes were asked to write out as many random acts of kindness they could think of that they could do for the Advent season. The committee went through all the suggestions and designed an Advent Kindness Tree. This was a cross curricular activity with Art and ICT.
10: Visit to Nursing Home 
A cross curricular activity was set up with Ms Collins TY music class where the choir along with the committee visited Beechwood Nursing Home to sing Christmas Carols and hymns for the residents of the nursing home to help them share in the Christmas spirit.
11: Wishing Tree
Wishing Tree a cross curricular activity with Catholic Schools Week – prayer service where all students tie a ribbon to a tree in the central courtyard and where say a wish and a prayer for someone in need therefore ‘Paying it Forward’
12: Valentines Day
Our Pay it forward Committee members made up 50 Valentine gifts for all the teachers and ancilliary staff in the school with a personalised message for each staff member telling them how they are so important to the students on a day to day basis. All the staff were really delighted to receive this treat and it really spreaded kindness throughout the school for St. Valentines Day.
13: Daffodil Day
Our Pay it Forward Committee helped out Irish Cancer Society on Daffodil Day helping to raise €17,000 from our local community. This was a very worthy cause helping to spread kindness and goodwill by helping out those most in need.
  1. PIF committee members put up kindness posters around the school encouraging all of the school community to be kind to each other.
  2. To mark 'Positive Ageing' week students baked over 200 homemade scones for the staff and residents of St. Catherines nursing home to say thank you for all their patience and dedication over the past 2 years during the pandemic. 4 students from committee were interviewed on Limerick Live 95 fm
  3. As part of World Teachers Day and in conjunction with the Wellbeing Team students made home-made cupcakes and treats for all the teachers as well as presenting them all with appreciation certificates.
  4. To mark World Kindness week PIF students made homemade sausage rolls and treats for all our 3rd year students. We felt 3rd years have been particularly affected by Covid over the last 2 years so it would be nice to do something kind for them. We also made Kindness Pens for 1st years with kind motivational messages inside.
  5. To support 'Stand Up Week' the PIF committee assisted the Wellbeing team in a host of activities in support of the LGBTIQ+ members of our community.
  6. We invited Clodagh, the Youth Development officer from St. Vincent De Paul to do a workshop with the Transition year students who along with the PIF committee members are doing a Christmas Toys and Treats appeal for those in need.

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Action plan for the future

Make each student sitting their Junior Cert and Leaving Cert a bookmark with an inspirational kindness quotation on it to show them that we are thinking about them.

Establish more links with the wider community in order to host more Pay it Forward initiatives.

Continue our random acts of kindness throughout the school such as holding doors open, saying please, thank you and I’m sorry where ever appropriate etc