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What If? The starting point for a massive social change project

We spend a lot of time with our students. We get to know them, understand what makes them tick. Every story is different, every path that led to us unique. One common thread runs through every life, though, the courage to ask “What if?” Two seemingly simple words that set our students on a new course, lead them to learn new skills, and propel them to positively change the lives of so many. Many go on after graduation to build bridges, heal patients, or support environmental change. Regardless of what they’re doing, they’re doing something that impacts lives for the better.

We asked ourselves how we could embody that spirit that flows through our students and inspire others to do the same. How could we encourage the most number of people to rise up, ask themselves “What if” , and then use their unique talents and skills to change the life of someone in need. The answer: Trade it Forward (TIF).

The idea behind Trade it Forward is simple and familiar, albeit unique, like the lives of our students. Do acts of good for someone and then ask that someone to pass the act forward, creating a massive chain of helping events. The only difference is that we want those good deeds to be inspired by the use of a skill or trade. Got a hammer and know how to use it? How about helping a mother build a wheelchair ramp for her handicapped son. Got business savvy? How about helping a young person get their start up off the ground. Not every act has to be grand. Even modest actions can have a big impact. The idea is to use what you’re good at, whatever it is, and do some good.

Our students and teachers have already gotten the ball rolling. Many have started Trading it Forward and the tidal wave is growing. Like our carpentry department that is taking the lead on building a house for a family in need in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

To inspire you to get involved, we’ve adding some fun features and special prizes to the Trade it Forward campaign. People can submit their Trade it Forward projects on the NFSB TIF website and then everyone is invited to vote on their favorite project. The top 3 vote getters will each win a $500 thank you prize. There’s also a Twitter contest. Anyone using the hash tag #Tradeit4ward to talk about their TIF project or promote the campaign will be eligible for a $400 gift certificate from Rona Ormstown. The winner will be selected at random. Everyone submitting a TIF project through the NFSB website will be eligible to download a special 10% discount from Rona Ormstown as well.

To launch the campaign, we have initiated a massive golden trades object hunt. The golden objects will be scattered throughout the Chateauguay Valley in specific locations starting on October 1st. The person finding the golden object is invited to start a Trade it Forward chain and in turn be rewarded with a $1000 thank you prize. Clues as to the locations of the golden objects will be made public every week through our Facebook page.

So, here’s the big question: Are you ready to ask yourself “What if?” Will you join us in this massive social change project and be the inspiration behind a chain of actions that can radically alter the course of someone’s life.

Our students, teachers and friends are saying yes: what say you?