This ongoing series is about community members who go above and beyond
Inspiring hope in troubled teens and young adults
Chase Marvil began posting inspirational messages on Instagram five years ago, when he was just 15. Little did the teenager know that this small act of kindness would affect not only people in Delaware, but the world over.
After seeing too many unkind and self-defeating messages on people’s timelines, the resident of Greenwood, a quaint town in southern Delaware, posted such phrases as “You are loved,” “You are not alone,” and “You can do this.”
Then one day he received a message from a girl in California who was having a bad day and needed someone to talk with. Shortly afterward, another person contacted him, then another. It soon spiraled from there.
Realizing the momentum his posts were generating, Marvil founded “The Inspiring Project” in December 2013. It’s a social media campaign focused on promoting hope and inspiration for teens and young adults struggling with bullying, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
The project encourages people to post positive quotes and messages on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Using the #theinspiringproject, anyone can see these posts.
“Your post can potentially be the one to change or potentially save someone’s life,” says Marvil, a student at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. “You don’t need to be anyone in particular to make an impact.”
Besides helping 75,000 followers on social media, Marvil says he’s helped an additional 25,000 people through donations and events he has organized with local schools, festivals, businesses and organizations to increase support and awareness.
“I have a relationship with these people,” he says. “They’re just not a number for me. I set time aside to interact with them.” He receives numerous thank you letters from folks throughout the U.S. and other countries.
Marvil received the 2017 Governor’s Award and the 2016 Teenager of the Year Award from Kiwanis International. He has also been recognized by local charities and the University of Delaware.
Since the project’s inception, he has raised $2,000 from the sale of bracelets he designed that are emblazoned with the phrase “I Won’t Give Up,” as well as caps, t-shirts and sweatshirts sold at public events and on his website “The Inspiring Project.” He’s donated $1,500 of it to The Foundation for a Better Tomorrow, Delmarva Teen Challenge and the Boy and Girls Club. He used the remainder to cover the cost of information material he hands out and to purchase his online merchandise.
Over a year ago he organized IMPACT Night, a monthly program held at Bridgeville Library, where kids get together for games, music, food, and to make new friends. When a teen needs extra help, Marvil encourages him or her to talk with a trusted adult.
“I have seen Chase welcome tweens, teens, and young adults into the program (IMPACT Night),” says Karen Johnson, Bridgeville Public Library Director. “[He] [comforts] them when they [reach] out with difficult stories. Whether we are playing games, making a craft, or just hanging out, his message remains the same—acceptance.”
In 2015 Marvil organized an event called “Inspiring Wall” at Woodbridge High School, where 800 index cards with inspirational quotes were displayed on a wall. Soon after he and his friends spread the event to other schools in the Woodbridge School District.
Raised with mottos such as “Give Before Receiving,” Marvil says he couldn’t do everything he does without the support of his parents, friends, and community.
In the fall, he plans to attend Wilmington University in Georgetown to major in marketing.
For information on The Inspiring Project, go to theinspiringproject.com, Facebook or Twitter.