Ally Svenson and Kristin Hawblitzel found inspiration in the eager faces of children who need books, supplies and uniforms for a school a continent away. They gave $1,000 to Project Kesho, a Seattle-based charity helping school children in East Africa. The donation sponsored 50 children at a Tanzanian primary school.
The women secured an additional $10,000 in donations and pledges for Project Kesho, part of which was raised by Seattle children selling hot chocolate for children in Tanzania.
"The two teachers receiving our gift were elated, overwhelmed and emotional," Kristin says. "The idea that others could share and support their enthusiasm for a village of families on the other side of the world was nearly unbelievable to them."
Ally and Kristin spent the other half of their Pay It Forward Challenge money on Target and Starbucks gift cards for strangers as part of a project dubbed, "All Kinds of Good," which was done with four other Washington friends.
Ally loved the response from those on the receiving end, whether it was an unexpected $10 Starbucks gift card or the gift to the African school children. "Whilst paying it forward we were received by hugs, smiles, cheering and promises by others to go out and continue the chain of giving!" she writes. "Oprah's Pay It Forward project made my body tingle, and I am reminded how good it is to be alive."