As the holiday season nears, there is an undeniable unspoken urgency for kindness and gratitude in our world. Our country has found itself having to pick up the pieces after what seems like a never-ending emotional and physical battle. Between the viral pandemic, civil unrest, and political polarization, it’s easy to overlook those people for whom we are truly grateful; those people who have dedicated their lives to helping others, saving lives, educating young people, and running towards danger instead of away.
That’s why this year, on National Thank You Letter Day, we stress the urgency of kindness and gratitude, and students around the country are being asked to “Thank it Forward.” National Thank You Letter Day is the brainchild of social activist and literacy advocate Carew Papritz. This innovative thinker created the yearly celebration to teach children—and remind adults—about the personal importance of paying gratitude forward in their daily lives.
“National Thank You Letter Day has always been about showing gratitude,” says Papritz, the award-winning author of the book The Legacy Letters. “In our continued efforts to provide positivity, civility, and kindness, we want to, no we need to be more thankful than ever because a way to antidote your feelings is to be thankful. Between social media, texting, and remote learning, traditional communication skills are falling by the wayside, and National Thank You Letter Day is designed to help children get back to basics and to show gratitude at the same time.”
Project Gratitude (Children of Ukraine)- This past Spring, Papritz was inspired to create Project Gratitude to get local students involved in supporting Ukrainian kids their age. With personally handwritten letters. He hopes that these students brought some level of support and encouragement to Ukrainian kids who were devastated by the war. Papritz and the community are trying to contact schools in Poland to deliver these letters to the Ukrainian kids who are now attending school there.
World’s Largest Thank You Letter- In previous years, Papritz and students from his hometown of Green Valley, Arizona drew large crowds with the creation of the official Guinness Record for World’s Largest Thank You Letter in 2018, and in 2019 mailed the letter through the US Postal service postmarked with the World’s Largest Stamp and Envelope.
Spreading the Word- This year, Papritz is asking not just students, but school districts to take part as well. “We want students to “Thank it Forward” by sending along a thank you letter to someone they are grateful for, but we also ask that school districts “Thank it Forward” as well by highlighting the students’ letters on social media with the hashtag #NTYLD,” says Papritz. “Together, we can make gratitude go viral.”
Carew Papritz is an educational thought-leader, literacy advocate and award-winning author of the inspirational book, The Legacy Letters. Through his innovative efforts such as the I Love to Read YouTube series and National Thank You Letter Day, Papritz has made a universal impact by being an advocate for literacy and teaching people of all ages about personal and global legacy issues.
Papritz’s writing has been published in a number of media outlets including Huffpost, Inc., Reader’s Digest, Fox News, Woman’s World Magazine, NPR, Yahoo! News & First Time Parent Magazine.