One person can make a difference and everyone should try.
JFK

Since Fall 2014, every semester I give each of my students $5
to use to do something good, to help someone, to make the world a little better.
Below are some of the things that they have done with their $5.

Spring 2017
  • My roommate and I were in a major car accident about a month ago, and while thankfully none of us were seriously injured, her car was totaled and she's facing a host of legal issues. About an hour before we were given this challenge, she was informed that she was legally completely at fault for the accident and that she would potentially have to pay whatever damages the insurance company couldn't cover. When I was handed the money, she was the first person I thought of, and I knew that while $5 can't pay for a new car or even put a dent in the damages she might be paying, it might just ease up any anxiety she might be having about money. Sometimes you don't even have to leave your own dorm room to make a huge difference in someone's day. :)
  • Hello, I made a donation to the Harmony Project which is a non-profit youth orchestra program in Los Angeles. This program has gifted many inner-city youth,such as myself, with music lessons 4 times a week on a free classical instrument. They also provide scholarships for students who have been in the program for more than 2 years. I graduated from the program after playing the flute and piccolo for 10 years. In that time I had the opportunity to play at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall with Gustavo Dudamel numerous times, as well as Stevie Wonder and Gwen Stafani. This program protected me in the most sensitive years of my life and kept me away from a lot of the dangers that Los Angeles youth are exposed to. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to donate to this program. I hope that you are able to check out the program and listen to some of their beautiful performances.
  • Today I used the $5 you gave me to buy cheesecakes from Cheesecake Factory for 2 homeless men. Thank you!
  • With the $5 you gave me, I drove through the canyon to get my roommate her favorite drink from her favorite coffee shop. She was very stressed out because she had a huge research paper due soon and she knew that she would have to stay up all night to finish it on time, so I thought this might make her evening a bit more bearable.
  • This morning, my friend received news that someone from her hometown had died. I used the $5 to bring her a coffee to try to cheer her up and make her day a little bit better.
  • I spent my $5 today!! I donated it to an Alzheimer's group on campus. They were in the cafeteria accepting them. I asked one of the girls working the table why the issue was important to her, and she gave me a very touching story about her grandma. I was more than happy to be able to contribute to her cause. I this this was such an amazing thing of you to do with your students. I've never seen a teacher do anything of this sort and I have to say how admirable and inspirational it was. You're absolutely making this world a better place.
  • I wanted to let you know that I completed the $5 Good Deed. I decided to donate $20 to Help Mito Kids. The Help Mito Kids organization spreads awareness about Mitochondrial Disease and helps families impacted by the huge financial burdens often associated with unreimbursed medical-related costs. This is a fantastic organization and I know the founders personally. Thank you for aiding us in our efforts to spread kindness throughout the world!
  • I used $5 you gave me to send my friend in Italy a letter. I haven't seen my friend for a long time and I want to write about my life in Pepperdine.
  • I forgot to let you know what I did with my $5 when I did it on the same day. I bought Chipotle for a homeless person with it.
  • I donated the $5 to a charity that helps provide clean drinking water in third world countries.
  • I debated on what I wanted to do with the $5 for a long time, but I always went back to thinking of how I wanted to teach someone else to give so that they can learn as well. I nanny 2 children 3 days a week and I decided to tell them about the $5 good deed and said that giving was important and that I wanted to teach them so that they could teach others. I gave them the $5 and told them that when they agreed on someone they wanted to give it to then we would give it away. On the way to take them to gymnastics there was a homeless man on the road with a sign saying that he was hungry. They decided to give it to this man because he "looked nice" and so that "maybe he can buy a Big Mac". Thanks for the experience and for all the good you do as a teacher!
  • I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I have completed the good deed that you gave us the $5 for today. An opportunity presented itself in which my suite mate wasn't feeling well so I used the $5 to go to Vintage Grocers and buy her some soup and a couple of wellness shots. It was cool to know I was able to help someone and I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you doing this activity. It really puts things into perspective and is a good reminder to keep my eyes open to see how I can help those around me.
  • Hi Dr. Strong! Today I finally did the $5 good deed. I donated the money to a Pepperdine team (consisting of both students and faculty) who is going to Kenya this summer to work with Made in the Streets. This team is raising money to provide meals for the Kenyan children while on their trip. The $5 contributes to approximately 5 meals for the kids in Kenya! For many kids, the meals provided by Made In the Streets are the only meals they receive, so 5 meals will make a huge impact. Helping this Pepperdine group support the kids in Kenya and learning more about their goal over the summer inspired me, and I will likely make another donation in the near future. After all, a small dent in my wallet can make a huge impact on these kids' health... but without this good deed challenge, I likely wouldn't have sought out more imformation and never would've had the chance to contribute!
  • With the $5 you gave us I added a little more money and I bought some clothes to donate to kids who can use it in Mexico. (I am going in the summer and then they will get them.)
  • I wanted to share with you how I decided to spend the $5 dollars you gave us. I was at Ralph's over the weekend and there were several homeless people begging for money. I decided to buy them coffee at the local Starbucks and match ed your $5 to be able to buy all four of them something to drink.
  • I donated your $5 to Autism Speaks. My original plan had been to pay for a coffee or sandwich for someone in need, but the opportunity, oddly, never presented itself. Today I even drove to different coffee shops looking for one with a homeless person outside, and couldn't find one. I had a friend with me who has a brother with down's syndrome and knows that my younger brother has autism. She suggested donating to the Autism Speaks foundation, and I realized that it would be a good way to complete this task in a way that I could connect to.
  • Hi Dr Strong, I donated the $5 to KCM STSM. STSM stands for short term summer missions and I decided to donate the $5 to my friends in KCM who are going oversees during the summer for missionary work. Thank you!
  • For my $5 Good Deed, I donated my money to the Our Lady of Malibu collection during Sunday Mass. I always want to donate whenever the ushers pass around the baskets, but I never have money on me. This time, however, I was able to donate the $5.
  • I have donated the $5 as part of my donation to the Salvation Army Charity.
  • Tonight while going to dinner with a friend, I saw a homeless man sitting outside. Thus I remembered your $5 (I accidentally spent a while ago) and I bought him one as well as I left. Thanks for encouraging me to do this, I have never been a part of something like this at a school (especially a math professor, no offense), and this was unique experience that I always said I would do, but never went through with.
  • With my $5 I bought a homeless man a meal at McDonalds. It is so easy to get caught up in our daily lives and forget how blessed we are. It was a great feeling to put a smile on this mans face. He thanked me numerous times. Thank you for this opportunity.
  • I'm on the debate team, and our coach recently planned a campus event where she could speak to/with students about feminism (positive aspects, alienating aspects, etc.). She expressed concerns regarding her lack of time/technical skills to create posters and promote the event around campus. Unfortunately, nobody else on the team (myself included) had the design skills required to help. I was able to find an inexpensive graphic designer overseas. I sent her $5, and sent the resulting poster to our coach (who loved the result, and had them posted all around campus). Thanks again for the $5--very original and generous assignment.
  • I used the $5 to cheer up my suite mate who was having a rough week and was stressed for a big presentation. I bought her a chai latte and a cookie to help her get through her day.
  • I used the five dollars you provided along with some of my own money to pay for the person in front of me in line at Ralph's who seemed to be struggling to gather their change to pay for their items.
  • I gave my $5 to someone outside of Ralph's the other day! :)
  • So I was walking around Malibu Country Mart looking for a place to take a picture with my friends since it was a very bright and sunny day. We came up to a white wall right beside Wells Fargo and I saw a man on his knees facing the other direction. As I went to the side I realized that he was reading a book that has been badly damaged and put together with strings. I could not resist but approached him with curiosity and asked him what he was reading; he said that he was reading a bible. I was so amazed that the bible he was holding had a lot of notes and how bad the condition it was in. He mentioned that he reads the bible everyday and had never missed a day. I suddenly remembered that I had a bible in my bag so I grabbed it and gave it to him. The joy on his face when I gave the bible to him was an unforgettable experience and this made me want to give more to people and be a more caring person. I then use the $5 to buy a replacement bible for myself and since that day I started writing notes on my bible whenever I read.
  • Thank you so much for what you have done for this world. I was extremely touched and almost burst into tears when I received this $5 bill. None of people in my life has ever done this sort of kindness before. I have totally no idea what should I do with this $5, since I want to do something really meaningful. I read that somebody has already realized that it was not about one task for some extra credits, but an opportunity to set up doing something good in our daily life. Finally, I also decided to keep this $5 in my hand. Because I don't want to just buy a cup of coffee for someone who is in need, and then forget it. I hope this $5 in my hand can always remind me to do little good things and make the world a better place. There should be more cups of coffee in the future. Finally, I used my own $5 bought a piece of cheesecake for one of my friend, who was really upset these days. Cheesecake is her favorite, and she is so surprised and touched that I noticed that she is having a hard time and tried to make her day. I really hope more and more people can realize that only $5 is enough to change the world.
  • I donated the $5 you gave me along with $15 of my own money to my local youth baseball program back home. I was involved with various teams playing and coaching for more than a decade, so to be able to give back to a program that gave so much to me and hopefully help more kids gain all that I gained was pretty neat. Thank you for doing this assignment - it's pretty awesome.
  • I wanted to let you know that I completed the $5 project this week. I bought some water bottles and gave them to construction workers. They were very surprised and grateful. It felt good to help out those who are working to improve our campus.
  • This past week I was on my way to play soccer, but I had to stop while on the way to gas up my car. At the gas station, there were these two homeless men sitting by the entrance of the convenience store, being ignored by everyone who passed by. As I began to gas up my car, I noticed people walk by and not even acknowledge the two human beings sitting on the sidewalk next to the convenience store. After much contemplation, I decided to go up to them and ask them how their day was going. Both said they were doing well but were hungry so I asked them if they wanted anything from the store. They did of course so I went into the convenience store and bought them each a bag of chips and a soda, which they had both requested, making them both really happy. I had to leave shortly afterward to catch my game, but this small act of kindness made me wonder how much more of a difference I could make and how many more lives I could touch if I took time to listen to and help others. Thank you for this opportunity to make a difference in the world, Dr. Strong. I really took heart to it and it showed me how much of a difference one person can make in someone's life.
  • This semester, I've been dealing with some tough things in my life, and one of my best friends has been so helpful in helping me through it. I decided to spend the 5$ on her at Starbucks yesterday, I thought it would be a nice way to show how grateful I am for her always being there for me!
  • I just wanted to let you know that I used the good deed $5 to pay for someone's meal. I also payed an extra three dollars of my own. Thank you for the opportunity to spread some kindness.
  • I know this is late, but last week, I was in Downtown and saw a man picking through trash. Whatever food he found, he shoved it straight into his mouth. So I took out the $5, and gave him an extra $5 and told him to buy a nice meal. The feeling of being able to help someone with as little as $10 was satisfying, and I wish to do more of such acts in the future.
  • I wish I could say I took the 5 dollars bought a scratcher won 25,000 dollars then reinvested that money into the NCAA tournament where I calculated the strongest possible odds to the first person ever to win the Billion Dollars. Then take 100 Million and invest it in the Math program at Pepperdine, get a building named after me and retire after graduation, BUT... I can't say that. I did however use the 5 dollars at Ralphs groceries to pay for someones lunch. They looked hungry and homeless so I picked them up some chicken tenders, a bag of chips and a diet coke.
  • Today I gave the $5 to a homeless man who was on the side of the street. His sign said "Hungry, Anything is Welcomed, God Bless". Once again thank you so much for this assignment. I really enjoy giving back to the community I currently reside in!
  • This Sunday was my birthday and my family took me out to dinner in Malibu and then we went to Santa Monica for some dessert. I gave the $5 to a little 9 year old street performer who was dancing because I just really enjoyed his dancing and the courage he had to do that at such a young age!
  • I used your $5 to buy my small group leader boba. She has really been there for me this year, and helped me grow in my relationship with God. She is such a great role model and I just wanted to give her something small in token of my appreciation. So, I wrote her a little note and bought her boba and some gummies. It was actually really funny because the boba place I went to only accepted cash!
  • For the $5 good deed assignment, I added my own money and decided to treat my close friend to her favorite restaurant during the weekend after mid-terms because she was stressed out.
  • Hello, I wanted to inform you on my $5 good deed, this week during finals week I got my friend who was struggling with her final some starbucks coffee (Unicorn Frappe).
  • I used the $5 to help pay for a visiting student who was on campus but couldn't afford a water. He pulled out insufficient funds for it so i let him keep the money and i payed for it.
  • I kept the $5 until I thought of something I really wanted to do with it. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of a creative way to use it, so today when I was in line at 7-Eleven, I paid for a couple bags of chips for the little kids in front of me. It wasn't a super tremendous act of kindness, but it was one of the only things I could really think of without spending it on McDonalds.
  • I just remembered I have to actually tell you what I did with the $5. I donated it to Children's Scholarship Fund, which is an organization that gives scholarships to academically-successful students with financial need, from primary school to college, giving more kids a chance to get a good education and break the cycle.
  • I used the money to buy burgers from McDonalds in Santa Monica and gave them to homeless people that I came across on the street.
  • For the assignment, I decided that I will use a thumbtac to tag the $5 on the wall in my freshman dorm room with a note. The note will basically be welcoming him to Pepperdine and telling him how the first few days are rough for everyone (I know it was for me). I know how important a good start can be, and something like this starting them off with a smile and a positive experience can go a long way. It might just end up being $5 to some stranger, but I like to think that it could be the right start a new student needs, that sets up his whole college experience. I really respect how you give so much of your own money for this assignment and letting kids go out and try to make a difference. I hope you liked my deed!
  • When we got this yellow piece of paper weeks back, I already had an idea about the task at hand; I heard about it from my friend who took the class before. My mind raced towards all these big ideas of what I could do with $5, how far I could make the money to go. Then, time slipped away, and suddenly it was dead week. The envelope still sat on my desk untouched. I shoved it in my backpack and hoped the grand opportunity of giving would come my way. Yet, as I stood inside the office of the elementary school I work at a few days a week, I realized the best use of this money was right in front of me the entire semester: a simple donation box for the school. I put the $5 in quickly, knowing that it would go towards helping keep a smile on the children's faces I care so much about. Sometimes, the best thing to do is right in front of you the entire time.
  • When you gave us the $5, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. The weekend before you gave it to us, I had been in Northern California (where I'm from) volunteering at a camp called Comfort Zone Camp. CZC is a camp for children ages 7-17 who have lost a parent/guardian or sibling. I have been involved with this camp for seven years now, after attending as a camper after my father passed away in 2009. I have been volunteering for three years now, and this camp was my first time as a big buddy, meaning that I was a one-on-one mentor with a camper. The camp has been struggling lately, as funding has been tight. Last year they had to cancel all their California camps after July. This year, they've only had one camp, in Northern California, none in Southern California, which is where they're normally based (the campsite is actually in Malibu too which is a huge factor as to why I chose Pepperdine). Anyways, there have been a lot of cuts to staff in California, and now my friend who is now the lead coordinator of the California camps has taken on so many roles. I decided to send the $5 to him, because he truly deserves it. He spent the 50 hours we were at camp running back and forth from cabin to cabin, assisting volunteers and campers, setting up events, and never taking a minute to take a rest. He also spent the weeks leading up to camp rigorously preparing, and just spent the past month rigorously preparing and then flying out to Florida to attend and head a camp out there. I have known this friend for many years, and he's see me transform so much as a person, and I've seen him take on so much responsibility over the past couple of years. Over the past year I've made it my personal goal to help raise funds for the camp, because I know what it's like to be a child in grief and to think of the thousands of children who need camp but can't go because of lack of program funding terrifies me because I would not be the person I am today without camp. So I'm also planning on donating some money to camp next week, as an extra thing on personally giving my friend the $5. Thank you for doing this activity, it really means a lot to me and to many other students. I'm so grateful that you took it out of your heart to give the money to us and allow us to do whatever we saw fit, I think what occurs is we really see people's characters and my soul has warmed reading what everyone else did.

Fall 2016
  • I used the five dollars you gave me over the weekend to buy a homeless woman in Malibu a sandwich from Subway! I found the experience to be very rewarding!
  • First I just wanted to say that I love the concept of giving your students $5 to encourage us to make a difference in the world, however small. I chose to donate the money to the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. The brothers of Psi U are organizing the fundraising, and their goal is to raise $100,000 in order to endow a permanent scholarship in Cam's memory. Although I only met him a few times before he went abroad, I have a number of friends who knew Cam well, and his loss is still felt throughout the Pepperdine community.
  • I use the the $5 that you gave me to buy some anti-ants things. I know it's bad for the ants, but my roommates and I were suffering from ants. So I decided that to buy some pesticides to make our room better :)
  • Today I donated the $5 to The Emily Shane Foundation. There was a fundraiser today at bluff park across the street from school and I happily donated the money towards this foundation. This foundation sponsors tutors to help children who are struggling in middle school and can't afford private tutors. Thank you for doing this good deed!
  • I donated your $5, along with $5 of my own, to the Cameron Johnson Memorial Schholarship (a scholarship at Pepperdine in honor of a student who passed away this past January). Thank you so much for this great idea and for facilitating it financially!
  • I spent the $5 donating to the Cam Johnson Memorial Scholarship to help it become endowed by the university.
  • I have sent your $5 to hospital in my home region in Hungary, since they are really poor and they want to purchase a new ambulance to be more effective in helping people in need. Thank you for helping people oveseas.
  • First of all, thank you so much for the opportunity. I donated my $5 to Wikimedia foundation, which is a non-profit organization that supports and operates Wikipedia. Wikipedia offers free knowledge accessible online and makes our life easier. $5 is not a big amount to Wikipedia but it at least raises the possibility for Wikipedia to be here and always make our lives easier.
  • Outside of Shafer Residence Hall there are workers making a brick floor for cars to park on. On Monday I used the $5 to buy them all cold water bottles. They all thanked me and I'm pretty sure they had no idea what had just happened.
  • I decided to use the $5 you gave me to donate to the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. I thought this was a really cool idea, and thanks for making the effort to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
  • I used your $5 to help fill an operation Christmas child shoe box :)
  • With the $5 you gave me, I went to the country mart and bought a homeless man I hot cocoa from Starbucks.
  • I hope you are having a fantastic week! When you gave us the $5 last week in class, I spent a while thinking about what I could possibly do with it. While I was at my House Group meeting, we mentioned that we wanted to participate in Operation Christmas Child, an event where people pack shoe boxes each year to bless children in need around the world. We are choosing to pack two shoe boxes, one for a boy and one for a girl. I thought this was a great way for me to use the $5 as a donation towards buying these children a gift this year!
  • I wanted to let you know that I have used the $5 you have given me and donated it to the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is currently on its way to reach its goal of $100,000 and, although the donation was small, I believe that was a beneficial contribution towards an amazing cause.
  • I donated the $5, along with $20 of my own money, to the "10 Days" pledge by Living Water International, to help build wells that will provide clean drinking water for people in Rwanda. To me, this is a particularly important issue because it helps make the lives of people in other countries who are struggling to find food and clean water easier, and allows them to potentially focus on other tasks to improve their quality of life.
  • Today I was able to use the $5 you gave me to buy some Christmas cookies for a special shoe box that me and a couple of other students put together for Operation Christmas Joy, which ships the shoe boxes to kids that are less fortunate during Christmas.
  • I did not receive the $5 but I took the time to use my own $5 to buy another student at Pepperdine food while we off campus for a school project. She didn't know that we would be eating off campus and only brought her Pepperdine ID with us so I offered to buy her lunch. It feels good to do something nice for others once in a while.
  • I wanted to let you know that I used the $5 that you gave to us. I gave your $5 to the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship was created by the fraternity Psi Upsilon, to honor a student who passed away last year, Cam Johnson. It just so happens that Cam was one of my best friends. This scholarship means so very much to those of us who are close to him. If it gets endowed that means that his legacy will live on at Pepperdine forever, something that we all pray will happen. $100,000 needs to be donated, and we are well over halfway in just four days! I really appreciate your donation to this cause, as this means so very much to me, Cam's friends, and his family. I love that you do this! Thank you.
  • Last weekend I spent my $5. I bought smoothie drinks from Starbucks for a homeless couple on a hot day. I was able to wait in line with the wife as we were preparing to order and got to hear a little bit of their story. She was very thankful. I also wanted to let you know that I was very inspired by this project that you do. I think it is very meaningful to know that you are going out of your way to connect with your students and include us in this.
  • I used the $5 to buy the $5 Subway Sandwich of the Day today and gave it to a homeless man near my work in Woodland Hills. I hope he enjoyed his Italian BMT!
  • I decided the spend the $5 to help fundraise for the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. I only knew Cameron as a passing acquaintance, but from what I heard he was a very swell guy. I had Great Books II with him Freshman year. My key memory of him was when he decided to write a paper analysing President Obama's decorum in a pop-culture interview through the perspective of Castiglione's "The Book of the Courtier." I found that very fascinating. I hope that this Scholarship will bring further attention to his life and legacy.
  • I spent your $5 on the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. I also wanted to thank you for doing this assignment. I thought it was really neat, and it really helps provide perspective on issues that outreach I can have an impact on as a student.
  • I donated the $5 to the Cameron Johnson Scholarship Fund that is being started by my friend's fraternity here on campus.
  • I'm emailing you to remind you that I spent the $5 on Starbucks for my friend who picked me up at 5am to go to an event. She was really happy about it, and I think it made her day because it was so unexpected. Thank you for providing us such a great opportunity to help someone smile.
  • I am emailing you regarding the five dollar good deed. I gave the five dollars to my friend to help them buy lunch!
  • My friend and I were in Long Beach at a gas station to fill up my tank and we saw a lady that looked homeless walking with all her things. My friend said she felt lead (by God) to give money to her. So we both pulled out our $5s and gave it to her saying God Bless you. She was so grateful and said she really needed the money and prayed for a miracle earlier. She stopped us and prayed for us and also prophesied to us!
  • My friend and I were driving home and decided to get some gas. I saw a woman by the crossing light who seemed to need some help and I felt led (by the Spirit) to give the money. My friend and I were trying to gather the money but the traffic light had already turned green. We thought we would never see the woman again. When we arrived at the gas station, Ikechukwu went to pay for gas and saw the same woman. Together, we gave the woman our $5. She blessed us and prayed for us. She said she was asking God for a financial miracle that night and it came to pass.
  • First, I want to thank you for doing this project and allowing us to spread just a simple act of kindness. Just reading your letter alone inspired me to reach out and do something good. So, thank you for that. On Thanksgiving day, my mom had asked me to run an errand for her because she forgot to buy a couple of things for Thanksgiving dinner. I went to Ralph's and on my way into the store I noticed a homeless man and his dog sitting outside. After I had grabbed everything I needed to bring home with me, I decided to buy the man a turkey sandwich, a bag of chips, and a bottle of water. He didn't have the words to thank me. He had the biggest smile on his face. I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving and went on my way. Seeing his reaction sent chills up my spine.
  • Thanks for your $5. I made it a letter and sent it to a friend of mine in England.
  • When I went grocery shopping on Thanksgiving day for more food, I saw a homeless person outside begging for money to buy food. Once I was inside, I bought him a fairly sized pumpkin pie that was about that amount. I gave it to him on my way out and wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. I felt really honored to have done a good deed by making him smile and I think we both left happy that day. Thank you giving me the opportunity to make someone else's day brighter. I never thought I could personally gain from it.
  • First of all, I wanted to say that I love your idea of distributing money to your students to give back in some way. While I was in the Glendale area, I donated your five dollars to a church that was fundraising to provide a warm thanksgiving meal to those in need.
  • This Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I went to In-N-Out for dinner. I was waiting for an opportunity to give your $5, and that night, we passed by a homeless man. I bought him a cheeseburger and some fries and wished him Happy Holidays. That moment was very humbling and rewarding. I am so inspired by the way God is working through you.
  • Your five dollars were not wasted. I've been looking for a good opportunity to use them according to the guidelines you have given, and during this break I came across one. I met this guy at the skate park and he told me his story. He moved to NY from LA looking for a better life but could not find anything better than public housing and a minimum wage job. He was trying to move back to LA where his loved ones were but he could not afford it. He looked clean, sober and was very respectful. Thinking about his situation, I decided to help him and gave him mine 45 dollars plus your five. He did not wanna take them at first but I insisted. He could not stop thanking me. We ended up exchanging phones. Today I got a text from him that he bought a ticket back. He now has two more people to thank on Thanksgiving.
  • I work at a high school in Long Beach for a research program. The high school is not presentable. Let's just say that it is very different than what I used to think about high school. This Monday I decided to buy some candies for the class. It was the day after Thanksgiving, which usually is the day I (or many people) cannot be productive. I hope sugar can stimulate their level of learning, and make them happy.
  • I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the money when I got it and I was thinking about it on my way to the Caf. On my way there I ran into my friend who is in one of the fraternities on campus. His fraternity was in the process of their philanthropy for the City of Hope (cancer research). I felt it was meant to be, so I donated the $5 to their cause. I am confident that even the small amount I donated will make a difference.
  • Yesterday my roommate asked me to print out an essay she wrote for class so that she could turn it in, since her laptop doesn't allow her to do so. I said I would but then I completely forgot to do it! I ended up giving her homework to her professor but I felt so bad about it I used your 5 dollars to buy her her favorite candy and lemonade to make up for it.
  • I used your five dollars to buy my roommate chocolate milk, which he was severely craving. He was ecstatic.
  • I am so grateful to you for doing this and encouraging us not only as students but as human beings with a responsibility to the people around us to make their lives better. I used my $5 to donate to the Cam Johnson Memorial Scholarship. As a peer of Cam's, I am honored to be given an opportunity to help those who never had the privilege of meeting him to still feel the impact he left on all of us.
  • For my $5 I decided to keep it in my pocket until I found a right time and place to use it. A couple of days ago I was walking through Santa Monica on my way to dinner with a couple of friends. As we were walking I noticed a homeless man around 20-30 years old asking for a dollar, initially I passed him without second guessing myself but then I took a second to think and I decided to go talk to him. My friends had no idea what I was doing but I went over to ask him if he was hungry and he said yes then I asked him what he would like to eat and he said he would eat anything. I walked 100 feet into the McDonalds down the street and bought a big Mac with the money and walked right out and handed it to him. He was extremely grateful and then I continued to walk to dinner. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. It was a great experience.
  • With the $5, I bought my sick cousin in the hospital two Hot Wheels cars, as they are one of his favorite toys. When I walked in with the toy cars, a huge smile came across his face and I knew that I had made his day just a little more enjoyable.
  • I took the opportunity to fill an operation Christmas child shoebox to be sent to a young boy in Nicaragua.
  • Last weekend, I gave the $5 I received to a homeless man in my area (Winnetka Ave exit on the 101) that I've seen around for a few months. The signs he's held always carried a positive message regarding faith and happiness. We didn't have much time to talk since we were at a freeway exit, but I gave him the $5 dollars and we discussed our views on faith in the 30 seconds that we had. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have such an enlightening experience!
  • I bought food to a homeless man in Santa Monica with the money you gave me.
  • with the $5 i bought my friend a cupcake from sprinkles. She had stayed up all night studying for a chemistry exam, and did not do very well on it. She was disappointed because she had worked so hard, so I tried to cheer her up!
  • For the $5 good deed, I decided to use my money to contribute to the Cameron Johnson Memorial Scholarship. Cam Johnson was a former student at Pepperdine who died last January while studying abroad in Buenos Aires. Psi Upsilon is currently trying to raise $100,000 so that Cam can be remembered through a scholarship for incoming Pepperdine students. Not only does a contribution to this scholarship help to honor and remember Cam, but it also provides funds for prospective students who may need help in order to be able to attend Pepperdine University.
  • For my $5 Deed I donated to The Salvation Army.
  • I donated the $5 to a foundation that funds sports for children in the inner city. On Black Friday, a man at Sports Authority explained to me the impact that sports can have on the lives of these kids and how much of a difference athletics can make in their lives. I though this was a great cause and would make a difference in the lives of these kids.
  • I put the $5 you gave us towards buying my roommate her favourite dinner and dessert from Vintage Grocers. She was taken to hospital via ambulance earlier this week for a kidney stone and needed some cheering up.
  • I wanted to let you know that I put your "Good Deed" money towards buying a Christmas/ thank-you gift for my first-year seminar professor. I really like the message and concept behind this "assignment" and want to thank you for putting your time, effort, and personal money toward teaching us this valuable lesson.
  • So it's been awhile since you gave us the $5 in order to help someone or do some sort of good deed but I hadn't really had a chance to give it to anyone. Today though, I was at Chipotle getting lunch and there was this lady out front looking for money in order to buy herself some food so I remembered I had your $5 and I also chipped in $5 of my own in order to buy her some food. I felt pretty good about doing something like that.
  • I just wanted to let you know that I used my $5 to chip in with some other people to buy a Cubs Sweater for our first-year seminar teacher.
  • Regarding the $5... Thank you for giving us the opportunity to spread kindness in the world. I gave a homeless man a doughnut and coffee outside of Ralphs with the $5 that you gave me.
  • I used the $5 you gave me to help pay for the person behind me in the drive thru at In-N-Out. I've worked at In-N-Out (in Texas!) since I turned 16 and one of my favorite things to see while I was working was when people would do this. I remember one time someone started this and it continued TEN cars back. Thank you for sharing this with us and always spreading positivity. It's appreciated much more than you know.
  • I'm using the $5 you gave me plus some of my own money to donate $35 to a charity that holds a fun run every New Year's Eve benefitting an organization called Marathon Kids.
  • I gave the 5 dollars to my church, the gathering in hopes they can use the money in their ministries and spread the love of jesus around the world.
  • With the 5 dollars you gave me I put in 5 dollars of my own money and bought a toy for a toy drive that I'm going to go to tomorrow.
  • I was absent when we got the money but still wanted to help someone in need so I used my own money, but it was Thanksgiving time and I should do it anyway, but we all should help someone or a cause now and then all the time, that's what makes us human. I donated my $5 to the Cameron Johnson scholarship foundation, but I didn't just do it because it was an easy option, I did it because I just recently lost a friend at 18 years to cancer, and I know exactly what it feels like to lose someone, especially so young. Even though I didn't know him I feel like I am still connected to him, I hope that the donation goes well and they reach their goal.
  • I used the $5 given to me in class to help pay for a friend's lunch earlier this week.
  • I wanted to let you know, that I did my good deed. I bought a Lego set for the foster kids in Indianapolis. I know it is not very creative, but as I usually around this time of the year do something for the foster kids, so it means a lot to do this also this year!
  • I wanted to let you know that I used the 5 dollars you gave us as well as 5 dollars of my own to buy a gift card from McDonalds and gave it to the homeless man outside.
  • I just wanted to let you know what I did with my 5 dollars. I bought a homeless man coffee at Starbucks when I saw him outside looking pretty cold late one night. I appreciate this challenge you give to your students as one good deed can consequently make the world a better place.

Spring 2016
  • Last semester, there was a girl that came to Pepperdine from St. Jude's that talked about her incident with cancer and how she was not suppose to make it past the removal of her tumor during surgery. However, she managed to defeat the odds of the surgeons and physicians. Since then, I have been amazed at the work that St. Jude's has done and decided that donating this money to them was definitely worth it! Continue to make a difference in the lives of children!
  • First of all, I'd like to say that I admire you so much for doing this, and I think that it is incredible. My mom's aunt is like a grandmother to me, and she has took a horrible fall last week. She is in a very poor condition and is now most likely going to pass in the coming weeks. My mom is taking care of her in all of her free time that she doesn't have. I used the money along with some of mine to send my mom and my "grandmother" encouraging cards. My sister and I also sent our mom flowers to work. She said she it was so sweet that it made her cry. We came up with the idea to do all of this because of your $5 good deed challenge.
  • Thank you so much for giving us the $5 to make our life more significant. I purchased a Starbucks $10 gift card with the $5 you gave us and my $5. I sent this card to Sarin who is my RA tonight during dinner. Since she went to Shanghai in her sophomore year, she knows a lot about Chinese cultures and lifestyles. So, she helped me a lot to fit into the life at Pepperdine or in America. She took me to the Chinese market and restaurant so that I would not feel very homesick. That's my story about the $5.
  • Today I gave $5 to the cashier at a shop to hold onto and use to pay for the next person who came in to buy a coffee or something. It felt good to know I blessed someone's day even if it was just in a little way. Thank u for the reminder to serve others like Christ.
  • I used my 5$ as part of a donation to one of Pepperdine's Relay for Life teams. Thank you for doing this, I think it is a really wonderful way to inspire people to give back. I hope you had a happy Easter!
  • I just wanted to let you know that I have donated the $5 for Good to Relay for Life. I know a lot of people who have recently found out that they have cancer or that their previous cancer has returned. Maybe $5 isn't such a big deal in the grand scheme of funding cancer research, but maybe $5 is a big deal when it is combined with the other $5, $10, $20 that people around the country donate.
  • I used the $5 you gave us along with some of my extra money to donate to the Relay for Life that will be taking place at Pepperdine in April. Glad that these proceeds will be one step closer towards fighting cancer. Thanks so much for helping us make a difference in so many lives.
  • I carried the $5 bill around in my backpack for the last week or so trying to decide what to do with it. The other night I was at a starbucks in Calabasas studying for a couple hours. Throughout the time I was there I noticed how nice and upbeat the baristas were despite encountering a lot of rude customers that didn't appreciate their hard work. As someone who is a barista at a different coffeeshop, I know how much it means to me when someone simply says thank you or gives a small tip. It probably wasn't the most creative of ways to use the $5, but I gave it as a tip to the baristas because I appreciated them.
  • I donated $5 more to a ministry called Living on the Edge (lead by pastor/teacher Chip Ingram) that I regularly give back to. I have been ministered to by the teachings of this ministry for nearly 10 years and I often feel very compelled to give back to them. Being able to give back to this ministry is so meaningful to me. The teachings of this pastor has been an incredible influence in my walk with Christ. Their ministry has been one of the most important resources to me as a growing Christian. Thank you, Dr. Strong for enabling me to give back more to this organization that I greatly owe much to.
  • There is a worker at the Hawc, David, who is kinda quite but really kind and makes an effort to remember peoples names. I really like talking to him when I go in there and I decided to get him a gift card and a Jim Edmonds baseball card since we both like the Cardinals. He was pretty stoked. Thanks so much for this awesome idea I told my family about it and we are all going to try it this summer too!
  • Thank you for your generosity. I used the $5 to buy In-N-Out fries for a man experiencing homelessness as well as buying granola bars to make sure I always have food on me to give out to those who need it.
  • A couple weeks ago I went with a couple friends to The Pie Hole located in the Art District in Los Angeles. While we were enjoying our pies, a homeless women came up to us and asked us for money for food. I grabbed the $5 from my wallet and gave it to her. Once I gave it to her, she said to me "well I guess that is enough" and went to ask someone else for money. I know that isn't the best story, but my friends thought it was pretty funny.
  • I know this isn't much but my roommate is going on a mission this summer to Cambodia and I supported her with the $5 that you gave me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to send my roommate on a mission. Every little bit counts. She was really happy and I was the first person to donate so that was somewhat special.
  • I used the $5 dollars you gave me to feed the homeless. A student on campus was asking students from Pepperdine to donate their meal points to his fundraiser to relieve hunger for homeless people. I do not have a meal plan for the waves cafeteria, but I can add money into my Pepperdine account to use for meal points. I used your $5 to put into my Pepperdine account so I could donate to the student's fundraiser to relieve hunger in homeless communities. Thank you so much for motivating us to do good deeds.
  • Here's what I did. So the day after you gave me $5, I happened to find a second $5 bill on the floor. So I bought a $10 blanket on Amazon and gave it to a homeless lady in Buenos Aires.
  • The other day I was going to Ralphs, and as I got out of my car, I was soon approached by a woman. She explained how she has bills to pay and a child to care for but she is financially struggling at the moment. She then proceeded to ask me for either some money for supplies for her baby. So I went into the store and using the $5 and then plus some, bought a big thing of diapers for her child.
  • I donated my $5 to an addiction recovery program in my hometown in Kansas.
  • I wanted to do something extraordinarily good with this money. So, I decided to hold on to my five-dollar bill until this perfect opportunity presented itself to me. I later realized how ignorant I must be to have thought that this sort of perfect, ideal opportunity for a good deed existed and that I could even plan out my involvement in such an act of kindness. I set aside my five-dollar bill and continued my life as a student. In fact, I almost forgot that I even had my five-dollar bill and the task that my professor had given us, until one early morning when I was studying at a coffee shop. As I was working on homework and eating my breakfast, a homeless man at the table next to me was starving. Once I had finished my work, I got up to leave and the man asked me if I could spare some change to buy him a sandwich. This man, who was in need of help, had been seated right across from me all morning, and I had been completely unaware. Why had I set aside my five dollars to do something great? Why did I think that I could even distinguish between good and great acts of kindness? I was so focused on doing something great, that I was blind to the countless opportunities surrounding me daily to fulfill this five-dollar bill mission of service. I went back to my car and found the five-dollar bill exactly where I had left it, and used this money to buy the homeless man a sandwich. I thought that after spending this money towards something good, that I would in return feel good, but that was not the case. My experience in spending the five-dollar bill was heavy as it forced me to rethink my perspective on kind acts. I realize how easy it had been to ignore the homeless and others in poverty, and the difficulty in acknowledging that there are individuals who are experiencing true hardships. I am now trying to find a balance in acknowledging this need and the extent to which I can provide help and fulfill a mission of service.
  • I used the $5 to help pay for flowers that I surprised my mom with on a not-very-exceptional day when I came home. She loved them and I'm happy to say that it brightened her day!
  • Thank you very much for your kindness in presenting us with this unique opportunity. For you to do this with all of your students is very revealing of your character. This summer I had the fortunate opportunity of spending a month working with fellow Pepperdine students in Fiji at the medical mission of Natuvu Creek. Recently Fiji was devastated by Cyclone Winston, and I felt extremely helpless as I thought about all those who must be suffering as a result of this terrible storm. I do not have much money but in addition to the money you provided me, I decided to donate $10 to the mission. Thanks again for spurring such a great cause.
  • I used the 5 dollars to get coffee with a friend from freshman year, and we were able to have a great conversation about our future plans. Also that we are going to stay in touch and see about visiting each other in the near future.
  • I couple weeks ago I went to Starbucks with some friends before heading to celebration chapel. There was a man sitting in front of the Starbucks with a cardboard sign that read: "hungry, please help." I actually walked past him multiple times before I worked up the courage to go talk to him. After introducing myself to him and giving him the five dollars, I was surprised to learn that his voice was completely gone. So with a big smile and visible relief, he accepted the money and went in to buy food.
  • Also, I spent my $5! With this $5 I helped a homeless man. As I left for my hospital shift yesterday morning I stopped at Starbucks. It was 5:30 am and there was a homeless man outside of the Starbucks. I decided to buy him a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich to help fuel him for the day and warm him up from the morning cool temperatures.
  • I normally don't keep any money in my car so I figured I'd keep the money in my glove compartment in case I need it. Sure enough, someone asked me if I had any money to give them so that they could put gas in their car. Although I do not know what that individual was going through, it instilled within me a good feeling knowing that I may helped that individual a lot.
  • I contributed your $5 as well as some of my own so that we could leave a gift card and a nice note for our cleaning lady. Thank you for encouraging your students to give back!
  • I went to Ralph's and saw a homeless man outside and decided to buy him apples and granola bars. He was very thankful.
  • I wanted to tell you for thinking of, and participating in this great service. I think it is very thoughtful for you to give us all five dollars to help out people in our own unique way. I also really enjoy reading about some of the ideas other people thought of, and how our classmates decided to help someone out. There is a man that lives at the beach near there and he surfs all the time. He has helped my family and I move some equipment before. My mom has know him for years. I decided to go to Ralph's and buy cereal and apples for this man. Whenever he helps out we give him food, but this time I wanted to actively go and help him out. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do this.
  • I ended up deciding to use the $5 to tip the barista at Starbucks. They were really busy and I could tell the girl behind the register was stressed out. I remembered what it was like to work a register like that and how important my tips were since I was making minimum wage and I thought that this hard working barista would put the money to good use. It felt good to be able to be generous with my tips and know that I was brightening someone else's day.
  • I am going on the Fiji Medical Mission this year with the Pepperdine program. This past weekend I took a break from studying and went to Target to buy some supplies that are group will need in order to assemble medical kits to give out while we are there. I used the $5 along with some of my own money to buy soap which are a component to the kits we make.
  • After our class a girl in line ran out of meal points so I bought her coffee!
  • I gave the $5 to Anam Cara, a hospice starting in Topanga. It's being developed in the memory of Gabe Gelbrat who passed away two years ago. He co-conceived the concept of Anam Cara as an end-of-life home where those with life-limiting illness can experience the healing beauty of nature.


Fall 2015
  • First of all, thank you for the opportunity. Secondly, I used my money on our cleaning people in my dorm because our whole dorm is donating 5$ to buy them massages for Thanksgiving :).
  • So this morning I was out getting breakfast at Point Dume, there was an older woman who looked pretty rough sleeping on the ground and I immediately thought that there was no better way to brighten her day than put forth the $5 you gave me towards a delicious Lilly's breakfast burrito and a bottle of water. Her name was Loretta, she said she was just down on her luck and was very thankful as she started to tear up.
  • On Thursday night, I went out with my friends in a town next to Santa Monica to grab some dinner. While walking along the sidewalk, I saw a homeless man bundled up shivering at a bus stop. I decide to use the five dollars to buy him a hot dinner and drink so I went to the closest store, which was Starbucks, and bought him a turkey sandwich and a hot chocolate. By the time I came back out to hand him the food, another man had stopped to talk to him, so I just handed him the food and walked away. But before I got too far, he said, "Thank you sweetie" and that was when I knew I did something helpful and felt good about my actions.
  • I wasn't sure what should i do for my $5, but then I realized that my apartment is having a charity event for this Thanksgiving. They encourage all of the residents to give new, unwrapped toys as donation for children who are in need. Although I bought toys like barbie, nerf gun, play-dough and others which value more than $5, but because the idea of your "giving away $5" for someone in need really inspire me to do much more! In fact because of me doing this, my roommates followed me in giving toys donations as well. I have to say, being kind really has a ripple effect.
  • I hope you had a good Thanksgiving! I donated the $5 you gave me to The Pepperdine Fund #givingtuesday. It is to help raise money for Pepperdine athletics.
  • On Wednesday, at the Stater Bros near my house, I gave a couple (that was probably in their early 30s) behind me in line at the cash register $5 for their groceries. They were caught off guard, asked if I was sure, and then accepted thankfully! :)
  • Just wanted to let you know what I decided to do with the $5 you gave us. I was at a Starbucks near my house early on Thanksgiving morning and heard a couple of the baristas talking about how they had to change around family plans due to having to work during the holiday. I put the money in their tip jar because I know that if I had to work on a holiday something like that would make it slightly more bearable :)
  • On Saturday I went to Panera, and gave my $5 to the cashier and asked her to put the money towards the old man's meal behind me.
  • For my $5, I gave it to my girlfriend's little sister to spend for a dog toy to give to my dog. Growing up, she has always wanted a dog but her parents wouldn't allow her to. She is a great kid with a great personality and I know that it would make her happy to be able to buy my dog a toy for a Christmas gift. Even though this may be different from giving the money to the less fortunate, I believe that this is something that is creative and meaningful to me, and I know that she and I were happy from this transaction.
  • Over Thanksgiving break, I was home in Seattle. One morning I visited Starbucks, as I have done for several years, and I saw a guy that is always there. I always say hi, he always asks for change, and I had never given any to him before. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I went with the intention of buying him a cup of coffee. I bought him the cup and a muffin, with your money. I suggested we sit down together and have our coffee together. We did, and we chatted for a good 20 minutes. I asked how he was doing, and if he was looking for employment. He told me his life story, and that he is a disabled veteran. He was very curious about Pepperdine, so I told him all about it. Thanks for giving us all that extra push to be compassionate and charitable, it really makes a difference in the lives of people in need.
  • I finally found a good gave reason to use the $5 you gave me. As I was walking to The Caf, my friend Richard past me by and asked if I could buy him a meal as he had just worked out and needed protein to save the gains that he had made. I then felt as if this could be my opportunity for kindness, my moment for compassion and then I asked myself what would Dr. Strong do. I then knew that I could not turn my broke, famished companion away and I said "Let's go." Once we got to The Caf, he order a Double Chicken Sandwich in hopes that if consumed, he would have twice the chance to keep all of his gains from today. He place his ticket in the basket and we waited… and waited… and waited… and then walked around patiently waiting, sneakily glancing at the grille to see if his food was being cooked …went to talk the people at the register.., debated the meaning of life with a 8 year old, and then after 7 minutes and 43 seconds, it was placed on the countertop. Richard's mind drew a blank as he could only think of the grams upon grams of protein he would soon consume. We then brought it to Marina the Cashier, and she worked her computer magic and it came out to $Six, Eighty-Six. We were stunned, this entire time we had not considered that we would actually have to buy the food at the end of this journey. I suddenly recalled what the point of this experience was- not to spend all of my calculus professor's money, but to give from the heart. I then instinctively pulled out two of my own dollars and covered the rest even though Richard offered to. My reason for doing this was for the sake of generosity- and in doing so it was actually more worth it for me in the end!
  • I used the $5 as a part of the donation that has been made out to the housekeepers of my dorm as their thanksgiving gift as an appreciation for their hard work.
  • I took my $5 that you gave me to Lubbock, Texas over Thanksgiving to my Grandparents house and I gave it to my Grandma as an appreciation for how much effort she puts into every meal she prepares for us and how much time she spends cleaning her house and making my family all feel welcome!
  • I would like to let you know that I donated my $5 to the Pepperdine Fund right after the Deck The Halls House Cup event.
  • I choose to use the $5 to thank my Resident Adviser for all the hard work she does. We went to the Topanga Mall recently because one of the girls in our house did not have a vehicle and had to exchange a broken school bag, our RA was gracious enough to drive us 30 min away just to fix her bag. While we were there we stopped to get a snack and I used the $5 to buy her ice-cream and took care of her tasty treat because of how much she takes care of us.
  • I used my $5 to pay for the woman behind me in line at Starbucks. As I waited for my own coffee order, I saw the woman smile as the barista told her that I had already paid for her. She smiled and thanked me after she ordered. I thought it was a simple but nice way to pay it forward during the holiday season.
  • I've spent my $5 by getting a bag of gingerbread cookies for the cleaning crew of my dorm. It certainly made their day & it warmed my heart to be able to put a smile on their faces despite only giving them cookies. But it's the festive season and any gift counts.
  • Hello Professor Strong! This thanksgiving I got to visit my great grandparents that I only see once a year and with the $5 you gave me I used it to buy my great grandfather one of the $15 sweatshirts from the bookstore and he absolutely loved it! Thank you very much for helping me get him something that made him happy!
  • I gave my $5 dollars to my waitress at Melting Pot in San Diego. We got to talking and Savvy and I were having a spontaneous trip to San Diego and we decided to have dinner there. Our Waitress went to San Diego State and she was a very hard worker. She gave us free dessert and wrote Pepperdine- San Diego on it. She went out of her way to provide us with extra customer service. She was great. At the end of the dinner I wanted to thank her for her time and how good of a waitress she was. I gave her a 25% tip including your $5 bill. I knew that could help her in anyway while at college and I believe that it is very important to tip well the people that help us everyday. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to express gratitude to hard working people.
  • So, my friends and I were going out to dinner in Korea Town. We had korean bbq and on a left turn to Western Ave. There is always this guy who is eager to clean car windows. So, usually I would purposefully slow down my car when the light is red and would speed up when it is already green, so I don't have to give him money. So this time, I stopped on the red light and this time, this guys isn't cleaning windows. And he stands near my window, so I opened my window and give him your letter. He was like "Hey wassup man?, where are you from?" then we bumped our fists and he asked him "Are you from the Philippine" I said "No, I'm from Indonesia" then he asked me "Muslim?" I said No, I'm a christian and I told him about how my math teacher gave 5 dollars to help people. And then the lights turn green, he said "God bless you and your teacher". Yea thats about it.
  • I have a very close friend of mine who has had an extremely rough year. Since quitting his job because he was unhappy, he has struggled to find a another job in his field and has been forced to take on two jobs, one at a restaurant full-time and a part-time job at a company he used to work for. This friend is a huge Disney fan and, surprisingly enough, he has never been to Disney World in Florida. Earlier in the semester another friend of mine came to me with the idea to start fundraising a trip to Disney World for our friend who was struggling. He reached out to a lot of people and was able to reach the overall goal of $1,400, which would pay for 2 Disney World tickets, airfare, and a hotel room for the weekend so that he could take a friend with him at no cost. All that being said, I took the $5 you gave me and used it along with $45 dollars of my own money to donate and help send my friend on this trip.
  • I gave my $5 to the person who stands in front of Ralphs entrance, asking raise money for helping poor children and family in Africa. $5 can support a family for 1 or 2 weeks.
  • My grandmother just passed away over Thanksgiving. She and my late grandfather used to run a charity hospital in their hometown in India. Our family, as a tribute to my grandmother, donated a sum of money to the hospital in her name. I donated a large sum of my own money as well, and the five dollars you gave me went towards that. I think this idea of giving students five dollars to have them spread good will is brilliant. I wish more teachers did these kinds of things.
  • I have been carrying around the $5 since the day we got it and I had no idea what I would do with it. I just told myself that I would let the opportunity come to me and that I would know when the time comes. But of course this did not happen as fast as I wanted. So forgetting about it I went about my life past Thanksgiving and through the days leading up to dead week. Yesterday, I went to Ralph's to get some sustenance for finals because my brain did not want to look at books anymore and low and behold the opportunity came for me to pay forward the $5. This literally was so unreal and the time was so very much God. I ran into a homeless man that I have been ministering to and just befriending over the past year. He was carrying cans and other sorts of grocery and it came to me that it would be a great time to reach out to him. I ended up buying him groceries. Of course it took more than the $5 but that meant nothing because those $5 gave me the push to really do something for someone other than myself. It was nice to get out of my head during this stressful time and lend a few bucks and some love to someone who really needed it. Thank you Dr. Strong for giving me this opportunity to not only learn math but to also learn the love of God through simple acts such as these. Have an amazing holiday season with your family!
  • For the five dollars that you gave me, I used it to pay for the car that was behind me at a McDonald drive though!
  • I gave it to a homeless women in Hollywood!
  • I used the $5 to buy the coffee of the person behind me in line at a coffee shop this weekend, hopefully starting one of those "pay it forward" chain reactions. I've always wanted to do that and this was the perfect opportunity! I think this is such an awesome, selfless thing of you to do, by the way.
  • I've always loved animals and have always wanted to do something to help non-profit shelters. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to use the $5 for good cause! I donated the money to Best Friends Animal Society as they will match the amount anyone donates!
  • Thank you for this opportunity, it's not every professor offers their students this chance! For my $5, I decided to help buy my friend a drink over Thanksgiving Break. My friend didn't have any cash on him, and was the only one without a drink on that day, so I felt sorry for him, so I decided to buy him one with the $5! Told him he didn't have to pay me back (of course), and we had a great day afterwards.
  • A couple weeks back I encountered a homeless woman , so I walked up to the women and asked if she would rather have the physical money, or if she would like me to buy her food or water. I ended up giving her the actual money as she could probably find cheaper where she could get more for her money. I saw her a couple days later and ended giving her some water and snacks, because I didn't have any cash on me.
  • A couple days ago I went down to Malibu Frozen yogurt and used the $5 to pay for an elderly lady's yogurt. She was very grateful and at first did not allow me to pay for it! At the end of the day I won the battle and payed for her yogurt. We talked for a little while and I really think I made her night. Felt good to make someone else happy!
  • I use $5 for valet. One for $2 and one for $3.
  • I just want to let you know that i used the $5 to buy a homeless man food. I found him around a week ago while he was searching for leftover food and drinks in the trash. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
  • I used my $5 when I was at Chipotle and I bought this young kid's meal who was behind me and I sat and had lunch with him.
  • On Thanksgiving Day I used this money to buy the gate lady (back home in Miami) a box of chocolates. She used to open the for me every day when I use to live in Miami. It was nice to see her again and do something good.
  • Hi, so I contributed my 5 dollars to a dozen yellow flowers to give to my friend because she was having a bad weekend.
  • I used the 5$ to buy a doughnut for the homeless. I met this guy in Santa Monica, where I just had dinner in a vegan resturant, I went back and bought a doughnut for him. The feeling of giving is great.
  • I used 5 dollar to buy the cute card before the thanksgiving and wrote the thank you letter to my parents and sent it back to Japan.
  • I used your $5 to build on something I saw on Facebook that suggested that women take their old purses and fill them with certain necessities and "goodies" and give it to a homeless women. So I took my old purse and went to the store and got some women products, granola bars, hand warmers, trail mix, and I found online an info guide for homeless shelters in Santa Monica and printed it out. I gave it to a women near the promenade on 3rd street who was asking for money to get a meal and she was so happy. It was a small gesture that I hope brightened her day. Thanks for challenging us, it really made me think and become more aware of others around me and what I could do to most effectively spend your money.
  • I was at a pub about a week and a half ago watching a soccer game when a homeless man approached me asking for some spare change. I made his day when I pulled out your $5 and handed it to him. Told him God bless and he smiled and said thank you. The great thing about this is I felt I should do this more often. As I saw various signs people held up driving throughout Los Angeles, I felt that they're asking for help and so I should help. So, I would give a man $5 one day and another man a nice handful of quarters I kept in my car. Feels good to help.


Spring 2015
  • Want to let you know I gave the $5 to a woman on the cleaning staff in my dorm. She looked like she needed it. I am very shocked at your generosity. Goes to show sometimes it's not all about money.
  • With the five dollars that you gave me in class, I bought dinner for a homeless woman. She was sitting on the side of the road with a sign that said she was hungry, so I stopped and bought her a burrito. Thank you for this opportunity to learn to give back to people who are less fortunate than us.
  • I used my $5 to buy my friend a ticket to our Spring philanthropy "TriHop" where we are fundraising for children's cancer research. Tridelt is partnered with St Jude and our current goal is the raise $60 million in 10 years. We are currently on track to our goal, as it started last year and we raised over $6.1 million. Thank you for supporting the little guys at St Jude!!
  • I also wanted to let you know that about a week ago, I was in the cafeteria and a woman and her two young sons were in line trying to buy their food and they appeared to be visitors to the school. She was speaking with the cashier over how much it cost because she did not have the money to buy all of them their meals so I used your $5.00 (and part of my own to cover the difference) to buy their meals. She thanked me, said "God Bless" and took her kids out to the patio to have dinner.
  • I gave the 5 dollars to a homeless person who was searching for food in a bin in Santa Monica.
  • I had a friend visit from home, and after a long week of showing her Southern California, I was running low on money. We were in Venice eating pizza, and I realized that I was $3 short for paying for my half of the pizza. I remembered the $5, and a little disappointed in myself that I hadn't used it for something more noble, paid for my half. We ate as much pizza as we could, but there was still about 5 pieces left as it was pretty large. We decided to take it home in a box, and on the way home, we were stopped by a red light. I saw a man digging through a trash can about 10 feet away, looking for food that had been thrown away. We pulled over and handed the man the remaining pizza. He was so thankful, and told us that, "[his] father once told him that God sends people to you in life when you need them the most. And those people are God's angels." I am in no way an "angel" but thanks to your $5, I got to make the world a little better.
  • So i never spent that 5 dollars you gave me because i couldn't think of anything to do with it....until today. Some guy was down on his luck and asking for money with his sign just as i was grocery shopping. I asked him if he was hungry and asked for a bag of chips. So i went inside and got him the biggest sandwich i could find. I picked up a bottle smart water, and a naked juice(gotta get your veggies) and also picked up a few cans of food for his dog. He said i was the nicest kid he met.
  • There is a girl in my suite who is the absolute sweetest. She does anything for everyone without hesitation. She drops whatever she is doing just to help someone out or to make someone happy. For what she does for others, she is incredibly under-appreciated. The day you gave out those $5 bills to us, Chloe (name changed to protect the innocent), the girl, had been running her roommate and her roommate's friend from back home all over Los Angeles. Chloe 's roommate does not have a car and asked Chloe to drive her and her friend to different talkshows and sights, which was unfair because Chloe had a midterm to study for that she was panicking about. On top of that, Chloe works for the Graphic, one other job, and interns for Paramount. At the Graphic, two people that had been working on a project with Chloe did not do their work so she pulled three all-nighters to finish the job. When she turned in the project, the editor of the Graphic called Chloe in and lectured her along with other supervisors because they believed that she was the one who did not do her work. Chloe had come into the suite crying because she was just yelled at, tired, stressed about her midterm, and was expected to drive her roommate around again that very night. To top all of this off, her dad had called her telling her he had skin cancer. This all came crashing down in one day. I said that I would drive her to Coffee Bean and buy her whatever drink she wanted in whatever size. In my mind, this did not seem like a fix in comparison to her horrible day, but she was extremely thankful that I had taken the time to think of her and for recognizing how stressed she had been. She was just glad to have someone to talk to over that small cup of coffee.
  • I gave a server a large tip at a restaurant who looked like she was having a bad day. I thought that the tip would cheer them up. Whenever the struggle of school wears on me, I always think of how lucky I am to be in school. I could be a middle-aged woman bussing tables at night, wishing I was somewhere else. Instead, I am in your class, and a few others, at a great school with great opportunities. So, when I put that into perspective, the struggle really isn't all that bad. And that is why I gave her my $10.00 -- helping the less fortunate of us is our responsibility, because we just might be there as well someday.
  • I decided to get a car wash during the break. It was a Wednesday so there were only a few customers and one old man was working extra hard and long on my car to make it look nice. I decided to give the $5 to the old man and he was extremely grateful because I guess they usually only get $1.
  • I spent the $5 you gave us by buying a bag of dog treats and dropping them off at the animal shelter.

Fall 2014
  • There was a guy on the street near a burger and sandwich shop. He wanted to wash my car windows for a little money. I had just had my car washed, so didn't want to mess with the windows, so I offered to give him a granola bar. He wasn't interested. I thought maybe he just wanted money for drugs or alchohol. But driving away he seemed genuinely disappointed that try as he might he wasn't getting anywhere in life. I happened to return to this place a few hours later, and this fellow was still there. He was still trying to wash cars for a little money. This time I offered to buy him a sandwich, which he accepted. After I brought it to him, I thought I would talk to him for a bit. I ended up talking with him for nearly an hour. I learned that his name is Chris, that he often gets part time work, most recently as an usher at USC sporting events, but that this work was very unpredictable. He lives with his elderly mom, who needs a lot of help (including having to change her diapers--she is pretty incapacitated), which he loyally provides. He told me he used to be quite addicted to drugs, etc. but has been clean for nearly fifteen years. He invited me to his fifteen year sobriety celebration a few months from that day. When I finally had leave, Chris told me that he appreciated the food, but much more than that he appreciated that I would talk to him for a few minutes--he said that most people ignore him, a few offer food or money, but almost no one talks to him or treats him like a normal person.
  • I put the $5 towards my buddy's golf round.
  • I used my $5 as well as some of my own funds to buy a mother and her daughter's dinner. The mother was in some kind of security guard uniform, so I thought it'd be nice to repay her for helping out the community.
  • With my pay it forward money, I have purchased notecards to write thank you notes to professors and friends who have helped me and made difference in my life this semester. Thank you for your generosity and for reminding me how much I love Pepperdine.
  • I was sitting impatiently at a red light, and to my left on the curb there was a (apparently) homeless person who said he is a Vietnam veteran (written on a piece of cardboard). So I motioned him over and gave him the $5.
  • I gave my $5 to the tip jar at Starbucks on Thanksgiving day. The baristas were working super hard and were so appreciative of the tip.
  • I used the $5 you gave us to buy breakfast for a homeless woman a few weeks ago. It gave me the opportunity to talk with her, and I had a very interesting and impactful conversation with her. Thank you for challenging us with that activity; I am very grateful for professors like you who care about making us better outside the classroom, too!
  • At the Gathering, the church I attend here in Malibu, they were making collections for $16 sleeping bags. I donated your $5 and supplemented with some of my own to come up with the total. The sleeping bags are going to the homeless in the area for now when it is getting colder.
  • I was waiting in line getting groceries and the women in front of me was $10.37 short, so I used the $5 plus a little of my own money to cover it.
  • I put my $5 the day I got it in someone's window seal in the parking lot walking home. That way when they walk to their car it can bring them joy. And maybe they are having a rough day and need something to brighten it! I'm sure there is a reason God led me to the car I chose because He had a plan in mind!
  • I was at my local hair salon waiting for a hair cut when I saw these children begging their mom to get them something to drink. Their mom was saying they could wait till after their haircuts. I went next door bought waters and juice with the $5 you gave me. They were surprised and grateful. Might not be much, but I think the mother really appreciated it!
  • Many of us know who Charlie is. He is the homeless man that hangs out around the Starbucks by CVS/Ralphs. I have had the opportunity to have multiple conversations with him about various things on different occasions. He loves talking to people and will talk with anyone who gives him a chance. I have been able to have some pretty cool discussions about God with him and let me tell you, he is extremely smart and knows his stuff. One day while I was in line at Starbucks, I saw someone order tea for Charlie and I have done that ever since. Whenever I see him hanging out around there, I always make sure he has his favorite (Hot Earl Grey Tea) and I try to talk to him for at least a few minutes if I can. Your $5 was put to good use, as I know Charlie really loves his tea!

And a few short video clips to encourage us all to do some good:


Make the world better because you were in it today.