Stonebridge kindergartner and mom promote kindness
November 16, 2016
Kids are taught to be kind to others they meet from a young age, but not always to strangers. Few people, even in their adulthood, think of making a stranger’s day better. This is where kindergartner Annie and her mother Alaya Matters stand out from the crowd. They have made it their personal mission to spread kindness and positivity around Stillwater in the form of art and through social media.
The pair have been drawing supportive and kind sayings in chalk around downtown Stillwater. They have also been posting pictures and making posts on their community Facebook page called You Matter. Their drawings and the Facebook page have earned a big amount of positive attention from local residents.
Junior Melissa Flipp said, “I see the drawings when I come from work. They always bring me a lot of joy and help me take on each day.”
The main street stairs in downtown Stillwater have been one of the most noticed and popular site. Each step of the first flight of stairs has a different saying, encouraging the walker to continue on. Other noticed sites have included a sidewalk near Lowell Park and the stairs of the Stillwater Library, which have similar sayings of motivation.
Annie brought her kindness to school. She has given small stones to her teachers with many encouraging messages; they have placed similar stones all across town. On why the two chose to display their messages in these specific places, Matter said, “We first chalked the library stairs, because they were always cleanly shoveled. Soon thereafter we moved onto the main street stairs, because everyone who drives out town sees those stairs.”
Matters has spent years struggling with personal images and low self-esteem for a majority of her life, until her true value really sparked her. She said, “I was finally able to comprehend my own self-worth that I do have value…We all do.”
Once Alaya gained her own self-confidence and self-esteem, she began to use it help others realize they matter too. She began the Facebook page You Matter in Feb. 2016. Through this, the two have shared their stories and positive thoughts with more than 800 Stillwater residents. She encourages community members to sprinkle kindness and positivity wherever they go.
Alaya said, “Open the door for those behind you, offer to the push the cart back to the cart corral, give sincere and honest compliments, donate items to those in need.” These are just some of the small things people can do make a lasting impact on others.
Annie and Alaya have both become forces of kindness and happiness in Stillwater. The two plan to continue their contagious positivity as they grow older.
“Be the good in the world. Kindness doesn’t cost a thing, so sprinkle it everywhere,” Alaya said.