Nicer Tampa Bay’s “pay it forward” campaign for youth

1 Jun

Creative Tampa Bay’s 10-100-1000 challenge finalist, a NICER Tampa Bay hopes to encourage youth in Tampa Bay to “pay it forward” with printed bracelets that say “I made Tampa Bay Nicer.” The idea is for people to give bracelets to someone who genuinely does something nice for them. A picture is taken of each person that receives a bracelet that is uploaded to Facebook, providing a way of tracking the bracelets. The project will reward people who are doing nice things and spreading positive behavior in the community.

The idea came from the Florida Institute for Community Studies (FICS), a statewide non-profit that works with communities to plan and create better futures. The group provides outreach services to youth and adults as well as programming at their Multicultural Family Center in Tampa. Their Community Advisors felt that many times teenagers feel like they’re viewed as people who don’t really care about the community. In reality, they give back in lots of ways like road clean-up, mentoring younger children and recruiting people for community projects. They felt adults tend to overlook the things teens do and only focus on negative publicity from a few who might make bad decisions.
They came up with the bracelet idea both to give youth more incentive to “pay it forward” and be nice to people, but also to recognize those who do among the larger population. Promoting the pictures on Facebook seemed like an obvious tie-in since teens like to use technology. The group tried the project on a small level and were happy with the outcome, so they decided to take the next step and make it community-wide.

Next steps for the group include obtaining additional funding to pay for the bracelets and promotional materials to spread the word. They aim to conduct several fundraisers such as car washes and are looking for additional community support.

For more information, contact: Alayne Unterberger with FICS. 813.249.8100

by: Megan Hendricks
BUZZ Editor, Creative Tampa Bay
Also published in Creative Tampa Bay’s buzz, June 1, 2011

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