For those who don’t know, I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – something that instilled in me a healthy love of pierogis and professional sports teams. Above my desk in my New York City apartment, hangs a photo of the incline at Mount Washington and above my chair, another photo of the Mr. Roger’s Statute on the North Shore.
(Yeah, that statute).
Love of Pittsburgh and love of Mr. Fred Roger’s legacy run through my blood which lead me to the story of Colton DeBiase, a Point Park University freshman and the founder of “Live Like Fred.” Every day, Colton aims to “live like Fred” in action and deed.
Without further ado, allow me to introduce Colton and his incredible mission.
Liz: Let’s start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give me a “Happiness is.”
Colton: Happiness for me in my generation is less phone time and more one on one conversation.
Liz: What is your project?
Colton: My project is called Live Like Fred (LLF). It is an online campaign based on the philosophy of kindness and love taught to us by Mr. Fred Rogers. We started the campaign by interviewing people who we call "inspiring neighbors" that are living out those philosophies in their daily lives. These are fantastic people who are making a difference in the lives of others every single day. We also post inspiring and motivational quotes on our social media platforms so people can feel happy for the rest of the day. In 2019, we plan to add more LLF short clips by reaching out to community leaders and asking them questions based on kindness and Mister Rogers. For example, the one question we like to ask our inspiring neighbors is "What makes a snappy new day for you?"
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Colton: The driving force behind what I do is to make sure the legacy of Mister Rogers lives on. I started this campaign because as a society, we need Mister Roger’s philosophy of kindness and love now more than ever. It is time to bring more happiness into this world and for his legacy to live on the next generation of neighbors that never had the chance to grow up with his timeless wisdom.
Liz: What does service mean to you?
Colton: Service is very necessary for a happy and successful life because it is important to care for other people in this world. It is a great way for people to be "helpers" in our community just as Mister Rogers always used to say.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Colton: Anyone can follow us on our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and subscribing to our YouTube Page. We want everybody to come along with us on this kindness journey and share our message.
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Colton: Always Remember to Live Like Fred. No matter if it is for one second or an entire day. Any kind gesture toward someone else means you are making the world a better place for yourself and the people around you.
What’s your favorite quote?
“There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind, the second way is to be kind, and the third way is to be kind.” -Fred Rogers