She and some 200 other students went trick-or-treating with photocopied $1 bills in hand that read, "The trick in life is figuring out how to make a difference. The treat is knowing you did." Their trick was to get people to trade them actual cash for their copied dollar bills…and it proved very successful!
With cash in hand, Lauren decides to help two local single mothers, Adrianne, a 20-year-old mother of three, and Ahvai, a 25-year-old mother of five. She takes the women on a shopping spree at Target, where they load up on necessities and gifts for the kids. Lauren also takes them to a salon to get their hair done, and she convinces them to spend $200 apiece on clothes for themselves. "Otherwise, they would have spent it all on their kids," she says.
Lauren says the Pay It Forward Challenge really opened her eyes. "I know that if I ever need to smile, all I have to do is remember this experience," she says. "This experience also helped me realize two other things—how kind some people are and how much need exists around me."