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"Grad"itude Rally: Thank Teachers, Scholarship Funds, Coaches and other Educators

High school and college seniors, express your “Grad”itude to the teachers, coaches, scholarship funds and others who’ve made a difference in your educational experience . . .

Okay, 2012 graduates, how many times a day do you hear the call to "make a difference" in TV and radio ads, signs and other advertising campaigns?  Have you ever given thought to what's motivated your own teachers and others to contribute so much of themselves on your behalf during your most formative years?  Chances are it wasn't just the paycheck, or the free coffee in the teachers' lounge, or even all the awesome papers they got to lug home and grade in their "free time."  Chances are that most of the people involved in your educational experience got into the field with the hope of "making a difference" in the lives of kids. 

So have they?  And how would they know?

They need to know; you need to tell them; and we're here to help.

This month ThankingOfYou.com, the free, Web-based forum for posting and receiving stories of gratitude (messages of thanks) to recognize, affirm and honor the people who've made a difference in the lives of others, launches its inaugural "Grad"itude Rally: a challenge to America's high school and college seniors to take up the virtual bull horn and tell those influencers (and the world) that yes, they have made a difference, and exactly when, how and to whom, and why it's mattered.   

(Quick tip of a lifetime as you move on: Don't underestimate the power of your appreciation for the contributions of others.  Never, ever underestimate the power of your heartfelt and detailed expressions of gratitude for those who've made your life better on any level.  Your life-affirming sentiments are treasured previews of their lasting legacies.  What a gift it is to glimpse one's own legacy from this side of the afterlife; get it?)  

Students (and parents) may join the Graditude Rally individually or as part of a class effort by logging on to www.ThankingOfYou.com, choosing the Graditude Rally category and posting their stories of gratitude in written or video form for the people and organizations who've had a positive effect on their development through education.  These may include teachers, coaches, counselors and other school faculty; scholarship fund donors; members of arts, athletic and other supportive programs; tutors; parents; classmates; and more. 

 While people worldwide may log on to ThankingOfYou.com any day and thank anyone, the Graditude Rally is designed specifically to encourage graduating students to reflect upon some of the most meaningful gifts they've received from those who've contributed in some way to their development through education, and to take the time to ‘re-gift' as they transition from one phase of their lives to the next.  In fact, the very creation of ThankingOfYou.com was inspired by founder Nora Firestone's longtime desire and unsuccessful search to thank two elementary school teachers from Plainedge, L.I. who'd each done something decades ago that had a lasting, positive impact on her as she grew.

"People come and go in a lifetime, often never knowing the lasting, positive impact they've had on another," Firestone explains.  "But no matter how much time has passed, nor where they are today, the people who've made a difference in our lives deserve to discover when and how, and why it all mattered.  Expressing gratitude for their contributions with a heartfelt, detailed account of how they've ‘mattered' in the life of another can be an extraordinarily life-affirming gift in return-one which no paycheck could ever have produced; one which only could have come from the people whose lives they've touched in ways they'd otherwise never know.  These true-life testimonials are profound insights to their legacies, which they (and their loved ones) should discover, and which may also inspire others to act generously on behalf of the people in their own lives."

Teachers who've received stories of gratitude posted to them at ThankingOfYou.com have reported measurably positive effects; many say their lives have been profoundly impacted by the discovery of how they've impacted the life of another.

Graditude Rally entries must be posted by 11:59 p.m. EST June 1, 2012 to be eligible to win one of several prizes to be awarded to the authors and recipients of at least three chosen "Thank You"s.  For now, videos must be uploaded to YouTube and then the code embedded to your "Thank you story" box at ThankingOfYou.com.  (It's easy; you'll see.  But call if you want help!)  Businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring this event with donations are welcome and appreciated; please call (757) 705-7174.

2012 Graditude Rally sponsors include Adios Adventure Travel, the only way to really see South America!

Founded in early 2008 and launched in '09, Virginia Beach-based ThankingOfYou.com is the free, Web-based forum for posting and discovering messages of thanks to recognize, affirm and honor the people who've made a difference in our lives.  The site was inspired by founder Nora Firestone's longtime desire and unsuccessful search to thank two elementary school teachers from Plainedge, L.I. for the "little" things they'd each done decades ago that had a lasting, positive impact on her as she grew.  Unable to contact Mrs. Shore and Mr. Sybil to send a handwritten card, she created the way for people worldwide to finally send those important messages of gratitude to the people who've made a difference in their lives and for those who've made a difference to discover when, how, to whom, and why it mattered.  Nora Firestone is available for interviews and she welcomes correspondence from people who'd like to get involved in the movement.  Firestone can be reached at (757) 705-7174 or nfirestone@verizon.net


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