5 Things We Learned from Gratitude Day

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The first annual Playworks Gratitude Day was a success!

When Playworks CEO Jill Vialet first shared her idea to dedicate a day to showing gratitude, most of us at Playworks were intrigued and interested. But there was also some hesitancy. Could we really dedicate two hours of our busy day solely to calling people and writing emails and cards of thanks? With some explaining and time, the Playworks team came around to the idea, and November 14 was declared Playworks Gratitude Day. When November 14 arrived, we discovered it went beyond simply showing our appreciation of others. Here are a few things we found…

  • First, we all felt an overwhelming sense of joy. It was fun to share our thanks and let others know we appreciate their efforts, that they make a difference to our work. We saw and heard the smiles that we brought. We went along our work days even more grateful for what we had.
  • We also discovered that the immediate reaction to telling others Thank You was often shock. For example, when Jill called Southwest Airlines to say thank you for flying so many of us across the country for the past few years, the customer service representative was incredulous. She turned to the person next to her and said “There’s someone on the phone who called to say thank you!”
  • We found that not only is kindness contagious, but gratitude is too. When Director of Evaluation Jennette Claassen told Julie Lo, a member of an evaluation firm who helps Playworks, she heard back “Thank you so much for your postcard – it really made my day! I wanted to pass that on after I received your postcard, it gave me the idea of gathering my group of girlfriends together and making our own gratitude cards – passing it forward!”
  • We also saw that karma can be swift. When Philadelphia Executive Director Marjorie Nightingale was visiting schools to give personal thanks to recess supervisors, she ran into a funder who was excited to talk about Playworks and scheduled a meeting in that moment.
  • The great feeling that comes with expressing gratitude buoyed us as we went into our next tasks. The next day, later that week, even the next week, we were energized with gratitude — ready for whatever life brought our way.
In one single day, we shared out over 2,500 personal thank yous to the people that make our work possible every day. And we know we will do it again next year. Please plan to join us next November 19 for Gratitude Day 2013. It will make you smile, we promise.

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