The message is powerful. The message is simple. Don’t Give up!
Today’s story is filled with encouragement and the challenge to cheer others on! I am so stinking excited to share Amy Wolff’s story with you! She shares her heart and how she unintentionally started the non-profit Don’t Give Up Signs. I love Amy’s heart to see a need and take actionable steps towards making a difference in her local real-life community and to continue to share a movement of working to see people, recognize people and as a community, cheer each other on.
Meet Amy- Amy lives in Newburg, Oregon. And she started this movement of the Don’t Give Up Signs. She is a wife, a momma to two sweet girls, a speaker, a speaking coach, and an author.
I love how Amy talks about not having time or intentions for this non-profit. In April of 2017 Amy shares about a time sitting with a few families with kids just doing life with each other. One of their friends was a teacher and he started talking about suicide rates in their community. They were heartbreaking and alarming. Amy started thinking about what she could tangibly do to make an impact. She continues to say that she felt unqualified as she had never struggled with mental illness herself but that she is a doer and works towards impact.
The question arose- “What do we do about it”
In April of 2017, Amy just did it. She made the signs that she saw in her mind. They were simple. With words. And Amy took to her Facebook connections looking for people to help create signs more cost-effectively. They loaded up the kids in the car to go find lawns around town to stick them in. Amy wrestled with the feelings of doubting her idea. She questioned whether they would even actually make a difference. She laughs she had already made the financial investment – she was $140 in for the investment of the sign so there was no turning back. They set out to ask for permission for places to put them. When people saw that the signs were just encouragement. No agenda. No political affiliations. Not a church. Not an organization. No hashtags just a simple message of “You matter!” the word started to spread. People started taking pictures of the signs and asking around.
Once they realized there was a place for them they decided that they wouldn’t create the signs anonymously but that they would start to be intentional and take orders for them.
The words – “Your mistakes don’t define you!” or “You are worthy of love!”
Imagine after a long, hard and heavy day you spot a sign. And on your drive home, you see a simple sign that says “You are worthy of love” and as you pass by in your rearview mirror you see the words “Don’t Give Up!” It doesn’t solve all of your problems but it gives you a stirring of hope with the idea that that message was for me. That message was for me on my drive home today. The message isn’t just for people struggling with anxiety and depression it is for people going through cancer, divorce, addiction, health scares, anything and then applying it to whatever they were suffering and pain they were going through.
There was a day when Amy got a message from a woman who lived in Texas but was driving through Amy’s Oregon town. This woman was blown away as she saw over 150 signs with all of the encouragement. This woman was a nutritionist and life coach supporting people with eating disorders and she said this message was for them. Then a family from church set out on a road trip from Oregon to Rochester, NY and they left road signs, stickers, and all sorts of stuff along the way. Within a few days, the movement spread. They had more and more people requesting more signs and things.
It was time for a website. It was time for a website. They had some decisions to make. Amy’s dear friend prompted her to think through whether they wanted to be a business or a non-profit. And Amy’s heart was to stir up hope and not to make it a business. So they made it a non-profit and all signs and products of encouragement are sold AT COST.
One of the unexpected opportunities that came out of the Don’t Give Up Movement was a book deal for Amy. Amy is currently working on a book curating a collection of stories sharing the impact the signs have had on the healing journey of others, people honoring someone they have lost to suicide and have wanted to take empathetic action and what it looks like to live well.
And one of the concepts that she’s writing about is the idea that “it’s not enough” to take action.
She continues to explain that on August 9th every year, Amy gets calls and text messages from a few people. It’s because at some point they wrote down in their calendar that she needs extra love. When Amy was 14 she witnessed the drowning of her brother. He was 18. That day is a day that her family sees coming on the calendar for weeks. And she has friends who put that date on the calendar and reach out to her faithfully.
Is that a big deal? No.
Is that changing the world? No.
But does she feel immense love and hope when people just send a small message. YES!
Yes! It changes her. It fills her up so she can pour out, and give, and heal. One of the things Amy has learned is that you just CAN’T DIMINISH small acts of kindness.
You hear that and it’s so cliche. Amy shares that it bugs her a little bit that the messages are so cliche. One-liners that are meant to bandaids people’s wounds. Yes, they are so simple so that they are simple enough for people to read the hope for themselves with whatever they are suffering through.
To learn more about Don’t Give Up Signs check out this link here:
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Cheering you on,
Today’s Story was made possible by our friends at Culture Coffee.
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