SMILE! It’s Contagious!


    If you have any doubt about how contagious SMILE’s are you need look no further than Wetaskiwin. Tammy McCallum has been doing her best to make it an epidemic.
    Inspired by the SMILE group in Edmonton McCallum was encouraged to spread SMILE’s to her hometown, knowing that there was a need SMILE could fill.
    SMILE stands for Supporting Many Individuals by Lending Encouragement. SMILE’s concept grew from the desire to help out the vulnerable and to guide individuals in their efforts to get involved. The goal of SMILE is not to replicate the efforts of the many organizations out there doing amazing work, they see their role as being able to supplement and provide support to these already existing organizations. SMILE, thanks to its many dedicated volunteers, has the ability to provide immediate tangible results to those in need that they may not be able to find elsewhere.
    SMILE Wetaskiwin works in conjunction with the local group NOW (Neighbors Outreach Wetaskiwin) to find need in their community to fill. Identification of need can come from SMILE members also. It’s very important to note that confidentiality of those helped is fiercely guarded.
    Tammy McCallum explains, “When a need to fill is posted on our Facebook site the person or family’s identity is never revealed. There is no need to know who you’re helping, all you need to know is that you’re helping. Confidentiality is key so people will feel comfortable receiving the help that we can give.” As she further explains, “We’ve all been in that position where we just need a helping hand and a little boost. Asking for it is the hardest thing in the world. We all want to help but when it’s our turn and we need the help we’re always reluctant to ask for it. Confidentiality makes it a little easier.”
    When a need is identified, a call will go out to the SMILE community via Facebook letting members know what’s needed. If you can contribute something to fill that need, arrangements are made to pick up your contribution. It’s just that easy! Anyone can help! If you can’t help every time, don’t worry about it. Help when you can and know that it’s enough.
    Another activity promoted on the SMILE-Wetaskiwin site is practising daily random acts of kindness. Members are encouraged to participate in acts of kindness and post them to encourage other members to do the same. Remember, an act of kindness doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Buy someone a coffee, give a ride to someone who needs one, a kind word of encouragement, a hug and yes even a smile are all examples of simple but powerful acts of random kindness. 
    SMILE- Wetaskiwin was started just in time for the Christmas season this past year and in a few months has quickly grown to 347 members. With numbers like this it’s safe to say that Tammy McCallum has started an epidemic of kindness in Wetaskiwin and it continues to spread. 
    Check out the groups Facebook page and see if you’d like to help make the world a better place one SMILE at a time!

Hey Millet!
    Recent reports indicate that this epidemic could be reaching our town. All of the signs indicate that random acts of kindness are infecting our community and residents.
    Customers paying it forward have recently been reported at not one but three different local businesses. Business owners have been infected too. One local business has been offering aid to residents facing difficult times and another business owner has been picking one customer at random monthly to leave their establishment without paying.
    It doesn’t end there either residents are shovelling snow for each other , sending anonymous gifts , lending words of encouragement, giving rides to those in need and volunteering to make our community a better place to live.
    The recent flurry of kindness makes one wonder if an outbreak of SMILE’s is due to hit Millet.

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