Lake, Sumter and Marion Students Get a Lesson in Paying it Forward

The Villages, Fla., Jan. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 400 fourth graders at The Villages Elementary of Lady Lake, Wildwood Elementary and Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary were given the task of playing Santa Claus this past Christmas.

Fourth graders from Wildwood Elementary School were among more than 400 students who received a $25 gift card last Christmas. The students were asked by a local businessman to give the gift card to someone in need as part of a lesson in Paying it Forward. A documentary on Lake Sumter Television features several students and teachers sharing their experience with this project.

The students, many in the free- and reduced-lunch school programs, each received a $25 prepaid gift card from local businessman Greg Parady, owner of Parady Financial Group. Their task was to find a worthy cause or person to give the money rather than pocket it.

“With the class, I was able to talk about what ‘pay it forward’ means and how one person does something and hopefully that person will turn around and do something for someone else,” said Ginger Storts, a teacher at The Villages Elementary at Lady Lake.

“I didn’t have a thought at first and then I thought of Mr. Hache,” said Robert - a fourth grade student at Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary. Robert and classmate, Ethan chose the school’s custodian to receive their gifts

“He was in a motorcycle accident and went in the ICU, intensive care unit,” said Ethan, who prepared a holiday box of cookies, magazine and the gift card to help Mr. Hache, who is still recovering from his injuries.

The students were then required to write essays documenting who they gave the gift card to, why and how it made them feel.

“Reading the essays has been amazing. One student said he pulled more than $200 from his piggy bank and gave that money with the gift card to a local police department because he thought they would know how to help more kids,” said Parady. “That’s the snowball effect. That’s the power of gifting. It’s the power of giving someone the gift of giving to change the way that they relate and think about others.”

Lake Sumter Television (LSTV) is airing a 30-minute video program, The Power of Gifting, which features several of the participating students, teachers and school administrators sharing how the experience impacted them.

Parady recently self-published a children’s book called What Would Santa Do? as a way to teach children about generosity and how giving to others makes one feel good. The book, in part, recounts the national attention Parady received in 2013 when he paid down a reported $20,000 in Wal-Mart layaway accounts just prior to Christmas. The book also includes letters from past students who took part in a similar “pay it forward” exercise during the 2014 Christmas season. The book is available for sale at Parady’s office with all proceeds benefiting the Parady Cares Foundation which distributes funds to local education projects.

The Learning Lounge: The Power of Gifting program airs on LSTV (Comcast 13, Brighthouse 498, Florida Cable 4) throughout January at the following times:

M/W/F at 7:30a and 7:30pm

Tues/Thurs at 10a, 3p, 6:30p

Saturday at 8am and 8pm

Sunday at 5:30am and 7:30pm

The program can also be viewed on the LSTV YouTube channel:

About Parady Financial Group

Founded in 2001 in The Villages, Florid, Parady Financial Group is a financial services firm that has helped thousands of retirees, and people nearing retirement age, achieve peace of mind by designing personalized retirement planning strategies for careful investors. The company’s philosophy is based on the goal to empower clients to live “your life, your way” via an education-rich culture. Parady Financial Group is dedicated to maximizing the living benefits of life insurance and annuities to establish guaranteed income for life and create a tax efficient retirement – all while protecting principal from the fluctuations of the stock market.

Nanci Schwartz The CommConnection, Inc. (305) 788-8256

Source: Lake Sumter Television