Thankathons are an idea I had while working at a large organization and being on an employee council tasked with democratizing employee recognition. Typical employee recognition programs only give awards to a very small percentage of the workforce. However, many people perform acts of kindness, courage, and consideration, that really do make a profound impact for the recipient. In encouraging recipients to write a thank you card to the person/people that make a positive difference for them, many more employees were recognized in a heartfelt, lasting way. All it took was a table with free thank you cards that passerby could write and give to whoever they wanted.
The next step for the Thankathon idea is to take it outside of work and open it to the community. As part of the new Arts and Innovation Center, I would like to hold a Thankathon with free thank you cards and art supplies and compliment this with a Post Secret-style wall of thanks. This is where people could publicly share thank you notes by clipping them to strings of lights. The visual effect of the lighted cards and glimpses into what other people recognize and appreciate about others could be a powerful reflection in our community. I would also like to develop a guide for the website to make it easy for anyone to host a Thankathon in their community (work, school, place of worship, etc.).
Funded by State College, PA (January 2019)