We would like to introduce, Doug Reavis who has been sharing the Silent Strength Kindness Presentation with middle school and high school students all over the East Coast since 2012. Most recently, Doug and his team launched their brand new YouUplift.com Positive Student-to-Student Messaging Platform. This platform encourages students to post anonymous uplifting messages about other students in their school. These messages can then be viewed via the platform’s website, the school’s website, school facility monitors, and even through social media outlets of teachers, students, and parents!
Please read on to learn about Doug and his family story from his own words:
About five weeks after Chris passed away, out of the blue, I got a phone call. I answered it, and it was a local teacher from Bristol, TN. He said that he had some 5th graders in his P.E. class who were not being very nice to one another, and he asked if I would consider coming down to share Chris’ story. When he asked, I told him that I just didn’t think I could do it –as I was afraid I’d get too sad and emotional talking about Chris. I said, “thanks, but no thanks,” and I hung up the phone.
But then, I started thinking: “what if there was just one kid – somewhere – who could get something positive from Chris and all that he went through,” so I eventually called him back. I said, “Mr. Arrington, I don’t really know what to say, but I’ll try.” He said, “great,” and invited me down.
When my dad and I arrived to the school, I was petrified because it was the little, tiny kids (K-5th grade), and I’m just not very comfortable with that age group (as my background was more with middle school and high school kids). So, we did a short little program and shared Chris’ story. We discussed how he treated everyone with unconditional love and compassion and told them about our family’s Silent Strength Pledge that was created in honor of Chris: “Today, my positive actions will speak louder than all of my words.”
When we got to the end of the program, I didn’t get emotional. However, I had NO CLUE if those little kids understood a single word I’d just said, as they were SO little!
Dad and I headed back home somberly, reflecting about Chris. When we got home, an anonymous message was waiting for us from a student who was at the program stating,
“Thank you for sharing the story about Chris. He seemed very nice. I think I’m going to take that Silent Strength Pledge for one day in his honor.”
And that was it. That’s when everything changed for me. That message not only helped to lift me back up onto my feet during a very challenging time, but it also ended up making a positive change in the direction of my life’s path. That anonymous note gave birth to Chris’ Silent Strength Kindness Presentation– a simple positive statement from an elementary student, who to this day, we still don’t know who it was.
I believe with all my heart and soul that our words have the power to do two things: I believe they have the power to destroy people’s lives, and I believe they have the power to breathe life back into people.
I hope we’ll all choose the second… more often than we do the first.
And this is why our children, David and Ginny have been working SO hard on creating YouUplift.com.
YouUplift.com is a Positive Student-to-Student Platform, where a student can post positive anonymous messages about other students in their school. We screen the messages to verify their positive intent before posting them into our software, which is shown through the YouUplift.com platform, school website, school facility monitors, and all social media outlets.
We gave the platform a “soft launch” to one of our middle schools just before Christmas, and to our delight their students proceeded to post almost 60 positive messages about one another in less than 48 hours! It was so much fun to watch!
YouUplift.com is a place where anyone can go and uplift someone with an anonymous positive comment– perhaps performing a simple kind act can do for someone just as that little kid did for me and my family.
I think sometimes we forget just how powerful our positive words are to other people and when we might change someone’s life for the positive forever. We hope you will consider participating.
Thank you, Doug for sharing your powerful story and journey. And thank you for all that you do within our schools.