Photo by A. Matters. Annie in front of the artwork her and her mother made. “Annie is a beautiful force. She has strong points of view,” Matters says about her daughter. (Alaya Matters)
Photo by A. Matters. Annie in front of the artwork her and her mother made. “Annie is a beautiful force. She has strong points of view,” Matters says about her daughter.

Alaya Matters

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.”

I was finally able to comprehend my own self-worth that I do have value…We all do.”

— Alaya Matters

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.


20 Responses to “Stonebridge kindergartner and mom promote kindness”

  1. Tiana Meador on November 16th, 2016 6:15 pm

    I think this very well portrays their motives behind these messages. I got a little mixed up with who you were quoting, however reader inferences can fix that.

  2. McKenna Wohlers on November 17th, 2016 7:08 pm

    This was a well written article. I selected this article because your title persuaded me to read this article. It seemed like a really interesting article to read. I really liked the organization of the article and how it flowed really well. You picked some great colorful and fun pictures, causing me to click on this article too. Lastly, I liked all of your quotes, but I really liked this the last quote and the ending to this article! Great job!

  3. Ben Wicklund on November 22nd, 2016 7:57 am

    Finally solves the mystery of the chalk on the stairs. Great job getting sources and very good quotes. Good job!

  4. Mira LaNasa on November 22nd, 2016 8:11 am

    This article is really well written and interesting. I like how you included the pictures of Annie to help the reader imagine her brand. I think what she’s doing is awesome, and so cute. Her mother seems to be very intelligible about the messages they’re spreading, and I appreciate how the writer described them in depth.

  5. Linnea Phillips on November 22nd, 2016 12:02 pm

    This is a fascinating article about a young girl spreading good, positive vibes around Stillwater. The writer did a great job providing all the necessary information about this topic.

  6. Jack DeGonda on November 22nd, 2016 12:49 pm

    I’ve seen these messages on the stairs, and this article does an effective job promoting what this young lady has done for the stillwater community. It is interesting for both readers who were wondering what the writing on the stairs is, and those who just were looking to read an upbeat happy news story.

  7. Hannah Larson on November 22nd, 2016 12:50 pm

    This article was well written and planned out. I chose to read this one because I have heard about the You Matter Movement and thought that this would help me understand it more and it did!

  8. Hannah Boardman on November 22nd, 2016 1:05 pm

    This is a great article! This is such a cute story and it is wonderfully written. I love that you mention where they have put messages up, so people can go see them if they want.

  9. Ellie Speedling on November 22nd, 2016 5:36 pm

    This was a really well done article! I read this after hearing about it on the news and other social media outlets. This helped me learn more about the reason for the messages and about YouMatter. I thought the last quote from Alaya was a great way to conclude the article.

  10. Mariah Marsnik on November 22nd, 2016 5:52 pm

    There’s no way I wasn’t going to read this article after viewing the headline. This is a moving story and it’s incredibly written. The purpose and tone of the article is clear and brought a smile to my face. I am glad I finally know who has been writing those inspirational messages. Also, it was great that you informed the readers about the YouMatter Facebook page, I will definitely check it out.

  11. Hailey Buelow on November 22nd, 2016 7:28 pm

    I chose this article because it intrigued me due to the title and the fact that the story was on a younger kid, which you don’t see very often. The article is very well written , it flows nicely and you have very nice quotes! I also liked this article because I’ve seen the work they have done on the stairs and it was interesting to read about it!

  12. McKenzie Bohlig on November 22nd, 2016 9:21 pm

    The article catches the attention of readers because it’s a cute and heart warming basis, however the creative and well-thought-out writing is what keeps their attention. The links in the article are very well placed and provide more in-depth information about the Matters’s message about spreading kindness and how to go about doing so. The pictures also provide further understanding of what it is that the two girls do around the community and the joy it brings them to be spreading happiness.

  13. Hannah Drake on November 28th, 2016 1:09 pm

    I can tell you asked good questions from the intriguing quotes used! Readers love to hear about local stuff happening in their community and a kindergartner and her mom’s story is amazing. Very well balanced and organized article over all.

  14. Ashlyn Aarness on December 10th, 2016 10:13 am

    The first paragraph is really good. The lead used was very informational. Really detailed paper and fun to read. It ends with a good, strong quote.

  15. becca jordan on December 19th, 2016 12:31 pm

    I really enjoyed this article from the picture drawing you in to read it to the great writing style! I had seen the chalk words written on the stairs and now I understand the reasoning behind it which is a cool thing to know!

  16. Tiana Meador on January 2nd, 2017 12:26 pm

    This was also front cover, and righteously so. Every people story has a unique angle, and this approached it head on, dragging readers in who are curious as to why “kids are taught to be nice to each other from a young age”? Usually focusing on high school students, this is a wider approach to our community, and an important one. It makes our paper more broad, and you did a great job of assisting in doing so.

  17. Anna Koenning on January 15th, 2017 7:55 pm

    I love this article! The topic is great, because everybody has seen the stairs and wants to know the story. After seeing the adorable picture and reading that attention-grabbing headline, I was excited to read the article. That closing quote is a perfect summary to the story and really pulls it all together, plus it’s a good message. Great job!

  18. Kleio Vrohidis on January 17th, 2017 1:47 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article because of the meaning behind it but the angle was well done too. I like how you covered how kids should promote more kindness, instead of just covering what happened.

  19. Linnea Phillips on January 17th, 2017 7:18 pm

    A great uplifting story about a young girl who wants to spread happiness in the community. Great quotes used at the right times, great job!

  20. Jared Dean on January 18th, 2017 12:31 am

    I enjoyed reading this article. I like how it provided a local impact they are making. I also like how it promotes their message. The quotes worked great with the article and I could tell time was put into getting the background information.

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