Melodie Richardson of Durham, North Carolina, says the Pay It Forward Challenge helped her accomplish one of her lifelong goals—to do something major to help people. As she calls out instructions to those gathered for a community barbeque with her bullhorn, Melodie is spreading the "pay it forward" message as loudly as she can.
With $1,500 in challenge money, Melodie and her cousin, Barbara Turrentine-Bowe,throw a party for residents of McDougald Terrace, a Durham housing project. The families enjoy plates of chicken and ribs, while meeting old friends and new. They listen to music and collect books, clothes and toys gathered for the event.
With bullhorn in hand, Melodie makes sure all the guests get an important message—to pay the kindness forward to someone else when they can. The party is a success, and Melodie hopes to make it a yearly event!
"Not only were we able to feed people and provide coats and books to the children and the adults, but we were also able to form bonds and friendships," she says.
The challenge fills Melodie with joy and gratitude. "It's always been my dream to be able to do something big for a large group of people, and I've just never been able to," she says. "I didn't feel like I had the confidence or would be able to pull off something big. But this opportunity showed me something different about myself. I learned that I am able to do big things."