A Mesa mother of two is trying to teach her children while also igniting a spirit of service that expands beyond the boundaries of Arizona.
“People think that service is a big thing, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Lindsey Hardison.
Hardison thought of a way to promote “paying it forward” about a week ago after she and her 5-year-old twins, Delaney and Roman Kilpatrick, made fresh bread and passed it out to their neighbors.
“The last several years have been the most challenging of my life,” said Hardison, who is going through a divorce. “I want my kids know what it’s like to be in service of others.”
Recently, Hardison attended a seminar that encouraged her and others to find a community project. After playing with the idea of mentoring women to reach their fitness goals — Hardison is a runner — she settled on a more inclusive project.
“I thought I should set up some sort of organization and share my stories to inspire others,” she explained. “I thought Facebook was so accessible and people connect so well on it.”
In the Facebook group, Project Service: Changing the World One Hour at a Time, Hardison asks people to pledge one hour of their time to serving others and then share that service with the group to inspire others to act.
“By the end of the year, my goal is to have one pledge from every state,” she said.
So far, Hardison has pledges from Arizona, Colorado, California, Indiana and Wyoming, but it’s also expanded internationally to India, Switzerland, England, Japan, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. As of Friday afternoon, more than 360 members had joined the group.
“As I read through projects, I’m just so inspired,” Hardison said.
Two people who wished to participate anonymously sponsored a girl to play soccer for a season, offering about $2,000 so the girl could play, Hardison said.
Hardison said that she was raised serving others and when the time came, it was hard to accept the help of others.
“I had suffered pregnancy problems and miscarriages,” Hardison said.
Hardison gave birth eight years ago to a daughter, Scarlet, who died shortly after birth.
“I was at my lowest point,” Hardison said.
A friend from her ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wanted to bring her food, but Hardison told the friend that she didn’t need help.
“She told me, ‘But Lindsey, you’re taking a blessing from me,’” Hardison said. And Hardison realized she had to learn to accept help as well as give it.
During that time, she was given a book that suggested readers give a gift to someone every day for 29 days.
“Some were really small and others were planned,” Hardison said of the month. “I made a conscious effort to serve every day. It makes you feel so much better to help someone or make their day better.”
But it brought her to realize that giving the gift of service can become a regular, inspired act.
This week, Hardison, who used to work as a hairdresser before becoming a stay-at-home mom, offered a free haircut to someone who couldn’t afford one.
“Next week, I’m going to make chocolate cookies and write cards for people,” her daughter, Delaney, said. “Because it makes people happy and it’s fun too,” she added.
The week after that, the family is planning on pulling weeds for a neighbor, son Roman said, adding, “I like to help people.”
To add your pledge to the campaign, join the group on Facebook. After you’ve been added, post on the group wall the way you plan to serve sometime in the next two weeks. After you’ve completed your act of service, make another post on the group wall stating who you served, how you served and the impact of your service.
Two weeks, Hardison explained, make it a long enough period of time to find something to complete, but also provide some accountability. For those who don’t want to tell their story publicly, Hardison posts their service anonymously.
“I just really hope that this goes big,” Hardison said. “There’s so much good even amongst the trials. There’s so much good to be found when that’s what you’re looking for.”
To join the Facebook group and pledge your service, visit http://evtnow.com/4fl or search for “Project Service: Changing the world one hour at a time.”
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