Chase Kraynick 'Pay it Forward' cards. Photo from blog
A little boy with a big heart continues to inspire his family and community, more than one year after his death.
Chase Kraynick was six years old when he was killed in a farming accident on May 24, 2011. His mother, Rachel, described his son as someone who was kind and generous, and passionate about one school project in particular.
"Our son chase was in kindergarten when he came home with this assignment that was actually given to him by his teachers. (The teachers) were teaching their students about random acts of kindness or generosity for complete strangers which is basically the whole concept behind paying it forward."
Chase would always try to come up with new ideas of how to 'pay it forward' from helping his mom with dishes, to opening doors for strangers, and even asking Rachel if they could shovel the neighbour's driveway in the winter.
After Chase's tragic death, Rachel and her husband, Clinton, decided to hand out the same 'pay it forward' card from Chase's assignment. They gave it to people at the boy's funeral, hoping they would continue to pay it forward.
People in Canora began using those cards in creative ways. With the help of her sister, Rachel set up a blog where people could share their 'pay it forward' stories. Soon, Rachel was reading about people inspired by Chase from across the province, and some from other areas of Canada. You can read the blog here.
Rachel was overwhelmed with the support from her community that helped their family through losing Chase. Soon, they decided to pay it forward themselves.
"We wanted to use our pay-it-forward card, in memory of Chase, to give back to the community as a way of saying thank you for all of your support. I wanted to do something that everyone would remember our little boy. I wanted something that families could go to and spend time with their kids and the people that they love - to go there and make memories."
The Kraynick's decided a splash park would be a great facility to add to their community. Rachel researched the different components that could make up the park, and decided on 18 different parts that all represent the things that Chase loved. Rachel's research then shifted to how to pay for the splash park. After looking through grants, she remembered that the nearby city of Yorkton had won funding for a new skate park through the Aviva Community Fund. You can go to Aviva Community Fund.org to vote.
"I was excited to find out that we were eligible to enter."
The Aviva Community Fund's first two rounds of competition are based on votes. If an idea proposal, like the Kraynick's splash park, gets enough support in the first round of voting that ends on October 15, it will move to a second round of voting in December. Then the splash park would need enough votes in that round to qualify for the finals, where judges decide who is awarded the funds.
So far in the competition, the Chase Kraynick "Pay it Forward" Splash Park has gotten the most votes in all of Canada.
"Social media is amazing, and of course we have it up on our blog. People started telling their friends, and sending emails, and putting it on facebook, and sharing it. Word spread so quickly, and it got into organizations, it got into different levels of government."
Businesses have even stepped up to help with the project. Yorkton Plumbing and Heating has asked to do the plumbing, Ludba Construction volunteered to do the excavation preparation for the splash park. McTavish Concrete wants to install the concrete.
For now, Rachel just wants people to continue voting for the project so they get the funds to make the splash park a reality.
"If you haven't voted, please go to the website and cast your vote as your way of paying it forward."