Young adults in the Piney Ridge Bridge program learned a valuable lesson in paying it forward this month.
After the disastrous floods swept through the area in early August, the girls of the Piney Ridge Bridge program got together and decided that instead of using the money raised for a trip to Six Flags, they wanted to donate the money to Good Samaritan to help the flood victims.
The Bridge program is for adolescent females ages 16-21 who are transitioning from a high-level care facility to a more independent lifestyle in a community-based setting.
"It's basically pre-independent living," Shaun Stewart of the Piney Ridge Center explained. "The Bridge Program is designed to teach them independent skills to learn without and do things on their own without being told. We've been teaching them integrity and humility."
After hearing about the donation, Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman posted the story to her Facebook page explaining how happy she was this group was selflessly donating to flood victims.
"I didn't even ask for anything [in the post], but within twenty minutes I had three donors wanting to give to these kids," Hardman said.
One donor had purchased tickets for the group to go to Six Flags, one donor gave $1,000 and one donor gave $300. All three donors wanted to remain anonymous. Hardman said two of the donors are Waynesville residents and one donor is a former Waynesville High School student who was taught by Hardman.
"I know one of the missions of Piney Ridge is to teach the kids to be a good citizen," she said. "And I know they have succeeded. This has taught them another valuable lesson: when you're good and you give back to the community, karma comes back and kisses you."
Stewart said that even after the students were offered the money from the donors, the young adults still insisted on giving the money to the community and not accepting it.
"I told them this is what happens when you give, you receive back ten-times-fold," Stewart said.
In the end, the girls in the program donated around $500 to flood victims, and each received a ticket to Six Flags and $40 in spending money for their trip.
"The children have now learned the full lesson in paying it forward," Stewart said. "This experience has helped these children realize that good things come to those who give.