If you found your driveway mysteriously shoveled last week, it’s not because you have a secret admirer.
It’s just that someone decided to “pay it forward.” Now it’s your turn.
Since the new year, about 30 snow shovels and scrapers have wound up on freshly cleaned cars and driveways.
All have the same message: “You’ve just received an act of change, pay it forward.”
It may sound strangely similar to the plotline from the Hollywood movie Pay it Forward, but this story doesn’t involve gangsters and alcoholics.
Instead, the altruism is being spread by a group of Whitehorse high school students and adults who call themselves Yukon Circle of Change.
“(The group) promotes social change through acts of kindness,” said Helene Girouard, its chair.
“It can be anything that benefits the environment, an individual person or the community as a whole.”
That means an act of kindness can be something simple, like holding the door open for someone, letting a driver through when they’re waiting at a boulevard to turn or smiling at a stranger passing on the street, she said.
The snow shoveling and scraping is the first act of kindness to be organized by the newly started group.
“It’s been nice timing (for our first action), since we just got this big dump of snow,” said Girouard.
The action didn’t cost the group anything because Canadian Tire and the Real Canadian Superstore donated the scrapers and shovels to the group.
The concept originated from the Challenge Day organization in California.
Last November, a Challenge Day conference was held in Whitehorse for high school students and interested adults.
Students involved in that conference started their own Be the Change groups in three separate Whitehorse high schools: FH Collins, Ecole Emilie Tremblay and Porter Creek Secondary School.
That spurred adults and students to form a separate group accessible to everyone.
“Our society is trying to speed up too quickly, we’re losing sight of important things like spending time with people you love,” said Grade 9 student Michaela St. Pierre of Academie Parhelie, the high school associated with Emilie Tremblay.
Last week, St. Pierre, part of the Circle of Change group, left a scraper for an unsuspecting driver at the Canada Games Centre.
She went looking for the “best” car in the parking lot, covered with a thick frosting of snow.
Then, she wielded her scraper and went to work on the car, leaving the scraper behind as a reminder for the driver to pay that act forward.
“Even though it’s anonymous and you don’t see the reaction of the person (when they get to their car), it still makes you feel good,” she said.
At her school, she’s noticed a slight difference amongst the students, that she attributes to Be the Change.
And, at Porter Creek, it’s the same story, said Girouard.
“It’s not like they’re hugging each other in the hallways, but the students have been getting into fewer fights and there’s more feelings of goodwill,” she said.
“The kids aren’t as isolated anymore.”
Anyone can join the Circle of Change group. They meet on the first Thursday of every month at Alpine Bakery at 7:30 p.m.
Contact Vivian Belik at