Nursing Program Continues Its “Pay It Forward” Philosophy

The Alfred State College Nursing program continued its “Pay It Forward” philosophy through the awarding of its fourth annual round of “Pay It Forward” scholarships, established during the fall 2006 semester and presented to this year’s recipients, senior nursing students Kayla Kauffman, East Branch; Lisa Barnes, Wellsville; and Paige Cleary, Rochester. Each student received $150 and a copy of the original signatures of those who initiated the scholarship, class of 2005.

The premise of “paying it forward” comes from a movie by the same name where a school child, as the result of a homework assignment to change the world, begins the practice of helping others, expecting not pay back, but that each of those beneficiaries will go on to help three more people. The caring aspect of that concept prompted Linda Panter, ASC professor in the nursing program, to incorporate it into the program, where it has grown, and culminated, thus far, into the scholarship. Each eligible nursing student submits proposals detailing the activities they could conduct to demonstrate the caring nature of the profession. The proposals need to demonstrate an understanding of caring as identified in the nursing caring project and evidenced by implementing a unique caring project and revealing insight and sensitivity in the written assignment.

Panter notes, “The selection of the recipients is based on whether the project demonstrates an understanding of caring as evidenced by implementing a unique caring project and revealing insight and sensitivity in the written assignment.”

The projects included returning a lost wallet intact, despite personal financial difficulties (Kauffman); taking time out of a busy schedule to help a disabled man with his grocery shopping (Barnes); and planting flowers as a memorial to a young life lost (Cleary).

“’Pay It Forward’ is a concept relating to social change beginning with the individual. Application of the process results in exponential development of moral health and caring, as well as transformation of the individual into a contributing member of the global society,” notes Panter of the project.

The Pay It Forward concept developed into a Pay It Forward Scholarship, initiated by the nursing graduating Class of 2005. The scholarships are awarded to senior nursing students at the beginning of their last semester. Funding is provided by private donors as well as fundraisers by the nursing students themselves.

Pay It Forward scholarship recipients, nursing alumnae, and PanterPictured here, Panter, far right, welcomes recent nursing graduates and congratulates the scholarship winners: Pictured from left to right Barnes, Dee Spina (nursing, class of 2008), Kauffman, Peg Eisenhardt (nursing, class of 2007), and Cleary. Because alumnae Spina and Eisenhardt are particularly supportive of this project, they were invited by Panter to assist in the presentation of the caring projects. Every graduate receives a letter annually re: the Caring Project, which helps keep the graduates connected to ASC Nursing.