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Just over two years ago, a Kentucky State University professor showed her students the movie “Pay It Forward“. It inspired her students to give to a West Virginia child fighting cancer. She later conveyed this story to her hairdresser during her regular hair appointment. As she went to pay for her services, she realized her hairdresser had paid for part of her services. The friendship between the two, professor Shannon Brogan and hairstylist Karie Smith, inspired what is now an annual tradition, 100 Days of Pay It Forward Frankfort.

So it was fitting to kick off the 3rd Annual 100 Days of Pay It Forward Frankfort with a return trip to Planet Salon, to “ambush” Karie and show her the love and appreciation for inspiring a community to “Pay It Forward”. Little could Smith imagine that her kind actions towards Brogan that day, would carry back onto the KSU campus and unite a community. In the Fall of 2014, KSU kicked off the first of it’s kind campaign to inspire others to Pay It Forward. That bold tradition has carried on the last few years as the 100 Days of Pay It Forward Frankfort.

Brogan decided to “ambush” Smith this year with some special guests and gifts. Frankfort Mayor Bill May, Frankfort Independent School District’s Chief Academic and Innovation Officer Dr. Ron Chi, KSU Regional Stewardship and Community Engagement Coordinator Irma Johnson, joined other KSU faculty and students as they surprised Smith at work at Planet Salon. A gift bag of goodies, a balloon bouquet, and a city proclamation from the mayor declaring Saturday, August 27, 2016 as “Karie Smith Day” in Frankfort, were all presented to her. Smith was overwhelmed with emotion as each was bestowed upon her.

The “ambush” on Karie Smith was just one Pay It Forward opportunity on Saturday. KSU students, comprised of mainly freshmen, volunteered around the Frankfort community painting and general sprucing up throughout. We caught several of them later with Dr. Chi painting a resident’s deck on Douglas Street. And yet another group braving the hot temperatures and painting some playground equipment. They also donated time to help out around the women’s shelter.

This year’s 100 Days of Pay It Forward Frankfort ends on December 4th. The Frankfort/Franklin County community is encouraged to join KSU and plan their own unsolicited acts of kindness for Pay it Forward Frankfort 2016. Participants should document their service with photos and videos with #payitfwdfrankfort2016 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. KSU even has a special Facebook Page and group to share inspiring stories.

To find out more about this year’s campaign, click here. Whether it be paying for someone’s meal, or just a cup of coffee. Whether you donate money, time, or your talent. It matters not during the 100 Days of Pay It Forward Frankfort! KSU would like to hear about your stories through social media by using #PayItFwdFrankfort2016. Read about previous Pay It Forward Frankfort stories on Capital Living by clicking on the links below.

KSU Students Pay It Forward Project (Aug. 21, 2014)

How KSU Helped Inspire Us to Pay It Forward Frankfort (Feb. 25, 2015)

Bondurant Middle School Teaching Students About the Importance of “Paying It Forward” (Feb. 26, 2015)


KSU & the City Kick Off the 2nd Annual Pay It Forward Frankfort Campaign (Aug. 27, 2015)

Anonymous Citizen Pays It Forward for Single Mom and Teen Daughter (Jul. 26, 2016)

Citizen Continues to Pay It Forward to Teen (Jul. 29, 2016)

KSU Class of 2020 will kick off Pay It Forward Frankfort (Aug. 25, 2016)