Any good deed or random act of kindness can be done, but rarely do they make a big enough splash in communities to create a ripple effect for any kind of prolific, positive change.
But a group of children at Sheridan Elementary School in the Williamsport Area School District, led by a small committee of adults, are hoping their act-in-progress will initiate an outreach to others that will continue long after theirs is completed.
These students, from kindergarten to fifth grade, are part of the school's reading club's "Pay It Forward Through the Sharing of Writing" project that began in September, in which they each are writing and illustrating a 16-page book about a meaningful person in their life.
"When you think of the power of what they can do with their words and their works, this'll put tentacles out into the community," said Lynne Piotrowski, a Title 1 reading teacher at the school and reading club committee member.
The idea is based on the novel "Pay It Forward," by Catherine Ryan Hyde, about a 12-year-old boy who came up with a plan to change the world for the better by, instead of repaying a person for a favor, "paying it forward."
Students meet about twice a month at the school with their parents to work on the project.
Pam Jensen, whose son Sean, 7, was hard at work on his book about his older brother Ryan last Tuesday evening, said this is a good opportunity for a kind of family keepsake.
Jensen said the project, coupled with the opportunity to hone the students' artistic and literary skills, is "a double-winner."
"Reading is very important," she added. "What I like about this is they get to write about a special young adult or adult."
Her son said he chose to do the book on his brother because "it's fun - he helps me with a lot things." The two do activities together, such as reading books and playing sports, he said.
"I think it's excellent," said Tasha Liddic, who watched her son Xavier, 8, outline a sketch of his grandmother. "It gives children a chance to see if this is something they'd like to do when they're older."
Xavier said he likes to read, write and draw and chose his "me-ma" because "she's my favorite person."
"We go to the library and go to the movies," said.
Jodi Harris, an employee of the district, sat with her daughter Emily, 8, as she developed a book about her mother.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity to do something she loves," Harris said, adding that it fosters Emily's and all the other students' love for reading. "So, this is a nice extension of that."
"She's somebody really important in my life," Emily said, who said that her mother was both surprised and happy when she discovered Emily was basing the project on her.
Piotrowski said she hopes this acts as a springboard for students in the club to understand serial reciprocity.
The books will be published in a children's book style and distributed to those whom the children wrote about in March.
In May, Piotrowski said the students' book subjects will return at a picnic to see just how they "paid it forward."