A Nova Scotia school opened a second-hand shop recently, but you can't buy anything with cash — you've got to earn it with a good deed.
A spare classroom at South Colchester Academy was refashioned into a "Pay if Forward" boutique stocked with brand-name clothes. The idea to pay with actions came from English teacher Caroline Shea.
She thought it up while shopping in Moncton.
"We were talking about laptops and iPads and all these fancy gadgets. It just kind of hit us. We said, 'Look at all these expensive things we're buying for our kids, meanwhile [there are] kids at our own school who probably don't even have winter jackets,'" she said.
"I thought, there will not be kids in this community that don't have coats and boots."
The idea sprouted into a store offering t-shirts, yoga pants, belts, backpacks and more.
Allison Gibson helped Shea set up the store and donated some clothes herself.
"I thought it was an amazing idea, especially for people that don't have very much. Mrs. Shea is very open — people can just come in and pick out things without feeling scared to ask," the Grade 12 student said.
Asked if she'd done a good deed she could cash in on, she answered: "I haven't yet, but I'm sure I'm going to do it very soon, because there are a lot of clothes here I really like."
If you're short on positive ideas, the shop posts suggestions.
The deeds are then written on cards and put on the "Good Deed Board" with the student's name on the back.
Some good deeds are more dramatic than others.
Shea said the store's early success challenges the stereotype of selfish teenagers.
"I think there's a label on a lot of teenagers that they don't do this sort of thing. It makes you feel good about yourself and that's what this is all about," she said.
Shea hopes to one day make the clothes available to community members outside of the school to pass the kindness on even further.