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Gratitude Project asks members what they are thankful for

Members of the New Richmond Area Centre have taken the time to write down what they are thankful for as part of the Gratitude Project, which is in its second year at the Centre. Answers are posted on the wall for everyone to see. (Photo by Jordan Willi)

People everywhere give thanks for the good things in their lives every Thanksgiving, but rarely do their friends and fellow community members get to hear what they have to say. That is where the New Richmond Area Centre’s Gratitude Project, which is in its second year, comes in.

“This time of year we all tend to be a little bit reflective, so it is a good time to think about and capture some of those reflections, whether they are thinking about it or this is cause to think about it,” said Centre Member Experience Director Jackie Huff.

The process for the project is simple. Members of the Centre just pick up a Gratitude Project form in the front lobby and fill it out with what they are thankful for. There is no need to fill in a name unless the member wants to. The slips are then put on the wall outside the offices.

“People who stand and read them say that it is wonderful and that it made them think,” Huff said. “There are people who enjoy reading them as well as people who like filling out the form. And I look at them before they go up, so if there is anything inappropriate they don’t go up. But we haven’t had a problem with that yet.”

One of the goals for the project, according to Huff, is getting people to stop and reflect on the things that mean the most to them as well as what things they are grateful for in their lives.

“If everyone takes the time to stop and think, there are so many things that we can be thankful for beyond the normal things that you think about,” Huff said. “Sometimes it can be something simple like walking out in the morning and seeing an amazingly beautiful sky with stars, like I do when I come into work every morning, or it’s those hugs you get from your grandchildren or the kids that come to the Centre.”

The wall at the Centre is already beginning to fill up and Huff said there have been some really good thoughts added to the wall from a wide range of age groups at the Centre.

“When you look at the number of people here who have already written something down that they are thankful for, a lot of them are about family and friends, but there are some funny ones too,” Huff said. “One of the funny ones is from a little boy who said ‘I’m thankful for bacon,’ and then Mom and Dad. Then there are people who are 87 who wrote that they are glad to be able to participate still and come to the Centre and just enjoy life. And there are all kinds of things in between.”

If she were to fill out a form of her own, Huff said she would describe seeing a beautiful new day every morning when she comes in early to open the Centre, the city she lives in and the places she is able to work and engage with people.

“It is about that engagement for me,” Huff said. “That feeling of community and all the people who come to the Centre every day to socialize and be active.”

The Gratitude Project goes through the end of November, so anyone hoping to add your thoughts to the wall needs to do so quickly, or you will miss out on your chance to share your feelings with fellow Centre members.

“There is a little of everything that gets written down and put up on the wall,” Huff said. “It is fun to see the wall get covered in slips of paper. That is the real fun. I don’t see this project stopping because every year it is something a little bit different, but you will still get the usual things.”

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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