- Society Builder
Emily Dayton came up with the phrase You Can NOT Be Replaced. She and her parents were discussing another recent teen suicide in their area, and Emily felt she had to do something about it. She came up with the short but powerful phrase, and soon she and her parents had 500 wristbands for distribution to local teens. They never planned to start a formal organization for suicide prevention, much less a growing movement, but word spread, and within a year they had 14,000 wristbands out and YCNBR was formed. (Now, in 2014, they have 24,000 wristbands across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.)
She says, “. . . But I have also learned that five simple words (You Can NOT Be Replaced) can be extremely powerful; I would have never thought that initially. We get emails expressing how grateful people are that someone passed them a wristband and told them that they are special in one way or another. Some people have stopped cutting, some kids have turned bullying behavior around, it goes on and on. Starting this organization, I guess I never realized so many people would take that saying straight to their hearts. It really makes an impact. The feedback from people, it makes me strive and work harder to keep pursuing and spreading the message.”
About planting small seeds for big trees, she says, “I never planned to start an organization. That weekend my parents and I thought we were doing something for the community. We were ordering only a certain amount of wristbands, a onetime thing. When we kept getting donations and it just started growing very quickly, we knew we had an opportunity to make a difference. It still sometimes doesn’t feel real to me. But whenever I go to an event, pass a wristband, or just talk about it, I’m reminded that I love what I’m doing and I’m so grateful to be able to do it. If someone has a passion for wanting to make a difference or to do something inspiring I highly encourage them to go for it. It doesn’t have to be huge. Small things matter and they add up to make big impacts. They should strive for what they believe in, I know its so cliché to say ‘Whatever you put your mind to you can do,’ but it’s true. If you have something that you want to pursue, get the right people on board and do it!”
And about planting random flowers, if you don’t have an idea for a forest of trees, she says,”I would just like to add that you never know how far a simple act of kindness will go for someone. So keep trying to do them because you never know who you will affect that day. That’s why we chose our quote ‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’. (Aesop)
Emily Dayton: maybe just another young woman with a big heart, and maybe a focal point and human outlet for the powers of the cosmos . . .
You can read an interview of Emily on Project Light to Life here,
and the You Can NOT Be Replaced blog is on Wordpress here.