Herren Project: We love the idea of spreading kindness, especially by inspiring others to share feel-good messages. What sparked your idea for The Take Notes Project?
Natalie: Well, my first iteration of The Take Notes Project was a little sticky note with the phrase “You’ve Got This” written on it; just a little note-to-self that I stuck on my laptop. Being surrounded by that message, seeing it for hours a day (during online school due to the pandemic), I did internalize it. It felt like having a sort of personal cheerleader, reminding me to think positively! Given the impact that one little note had on me, I wanted to spread the same positivity through my community and decided to create small, hand-drawn notes that feature messages, sayings, quotes, and mantras that inspire a sense of joy or promote wellbeing. That’s how The Take Notes Project was born!
Herren Project: How did you decide on the name The Take Notes Project, and what does it mean to you?
Natalie: I wanted to name the initiative something that described the message and had the staying power to stick in people’s minds. I ultimately settled on The Take Notes Project because it checked both boxes; the cards are small, business-card style notes that are free for anyone to take for an instant uplift! After seeing and hearing about the positive impact my cards have had, The Take Notes Project represents a wave of positive change for myself and others!
Herren Project: How do you distribute Take Notes?
Natalie: To distribute the notes, I hand-weave small baskets from recycled magazines. Attached to these eco-friendly receptacles, I have a card that describes the notes and how to contact me for refills! They can be found in locations all around my school and town. Since the notes are free, it invites anyone passing by to pick one out.
Herren Project: Now that The Take Notes Project is a Herren Project Club activity, do you think it will unite peers and help create a culture of kindness in schools?
Natalie: I think that it will unite peers on a broader scale and inspire them to come together to help create a culture of kindness in schools across the country.
Herren Project: What is your inspiration for your designs?
Natalie: I am inspired by both bright, bold patterns and the serenity of nature alike. I try to design cards that bridge these two styles into an aesthetically pleasing product.
Herren Project: How do you hope The Take Notes Project will help others?
Natalie: I hope The Take Notes Project will inspire in others the drive to reach out and connect with their peers in a positive way, whether it’s passing on a message to a classmate that needs a boost of happiness or using a re-grounding strategy found on a card to help reflect during a stressful time. Sometimes, we all need a friendly reminder to take a step back or reach out and ask for support!
Herren Project: Do you think people who are the recipients of acts of kindness will be more inclined to look for little ways to help others?
Natalie: I think that people who receive kind acts will be more inclined to look for little ways to help others! When you can feel, see or understand the impact that a little positivity can have on yourself, it’s natural to want to reach out and spread it through your community.
Herren Project: How can followers of your Instagram page, @The.Take.Notes.Project, contribute to the page and help spread kindness?
Natalie: My Instagram page for The Take Notes Project serves as a way to get the message out about the initiative and act as an HQ of sorts! I post photos of my designs, and anyone who finds or creates a Take Note of their own is more than welcome to direct message the account to have their message shared as well.
Herren Project: What inspires you to sustain The Take Notes Project?
Natalie: I am perpetually inspired by hearing how much getting one of my Take Notes brightened someone’s day or how the message on the card they took was ‘just what they needed’ to remind them to take a deep breath.
Herren Project: By living kindly, do you feel change is possible?
Natalie: By living kindly, helping others, and taking time to understand others’ perspectives, I absolutely believe positive change is possible.
Herren Project: Your design was selected as the winner of this year’s Herren Project Club sticker. What does the message You Are Enough mean to you and how did you feel when you were announced the winner?
Natalie: The message, You Are Enough, is a bit like a mantra for me. It can be so easy to get weighed down by “what ifs” and “I should haves” that you loose sight of your inner light and strength. The phrase You Are Enough is a little reminder to reflect on all the positive things you are, and also a way to appreciate yourself without putting qualifiers in front of it. I was so excited and felt so honored when I got word that I had been selected as winner!