How Many Ways Can You Say 'Thank You?' Teen’s Card-Writing Project Sparks Worldwide Kindness
She wanted to make an impact during the pandemic. Now hundreds of others are following her lead to bring joy to those who need it most.
Jessica Ong wanted to do something positive during the coronavirus pandemic. She saw how people were suffering from loneliness and isolation, and how hard front line workers were working every day to keep people safe and healthy.
Now, thanks to her love of letter writing, and the power of social media, Ong is not only making an impact in her community, but she's helping to spread kindness all over the world.
The 14-year-old started the organization Cards 4 Kindness with the goal of writing thank you cards to people in need, including hospital workers, senior citizens and Covid-19 patients.
Jessica Ong, 14, started Cards 4 Kindness to say thank you to those helping and people who fell ill during the pandemic. Screenshot: CBS-8
Here's an example of the personalized message Ong includes in the cards she sends: "Thank you so much for everything you are doing right now. I want to let you know that the community recognizes all of the good work you have done so far."
After getting the word out about her project on Instagram, Ong has recruited 300 "ambassadors" to write letters in their communities. Currently, there are Cards 4 Kindness clubs established in 22 different countries.
"Right now we have 1,400 followers in the one month since we started so that's been really awesome," Ong told CBS-8.
Ong holds weekly Zoom calls where she connects with her new friends and provides updates. Cards 4 Kindness has partnered with other teen-led organizations like Our Worlds Animals to get even more cards into the hands of those who need them.
Ong's mother Arsira couldn't be prouder of her daughter, and she says her love for letter-writing dates back to when she started corresponding with her sister (Ong's aunt), who lives in Thailand and has down syndrome.
Ong's love of letter writing started when she began writing to her relatives in Thailand. Screenshot: CBS-8
Even with the threat of the pandemic, Arsira has been comforted by her daughter's acts of kindness.
"If I pass away I know she will be in good hands, she will know how to choose right from wrong," Arsira said.
Ong also has a regular pen pal named Cedric, who she meets with for walks every weekend.
Ong has also developed a friendship with Cedric, a local senior citizen who she writes to. Screenshot: CBS-8
From a one-person operation to a full-fledged international organization that has sent out thousands of letters, Ong is still a bit shocked by the success of Cards 4 Kindness.
"I still kind of think it's a dream, but it just gives me faith that the youth of tomorrow wants to make a difference," Ong said. "I think everybody deserves to be cared for."
What an inspiring way to bring joy to those who have been working hard and have suffered the most during the coronavirus pandemic. We're sure that Cards 4 Kindness will continue to grow, as gratitude never goes out of style!