Announcing our Matt Kurtz Kindness Award Winner for May 2023

Susan Melton Kindness Award Winner

Susan Melton, (Cheboygan, MI), spreads positivity with chalk art. Every day she leaves a positive message on sidewalks for everyone to see. What started as a summer project in 2011, has turned into 12 years of chalking and she’s still going strong. Amazingly, she hasn’t missed a day, she’s out there chalking positivity, even in wind, rain, or snow.  When asked how she dealt with the snow, she said,I scrape off the snow and I chalk fast.”

Susan started the Sidewalk Chalk Project on May 30, 2011, after struggling with mental health and depression. She said, “I was looking for a way to pull myself out of dark thoughts, trying whatever I could. At first, I was seeking out and writing positive messages on Post-it notes and sticking them all over my home. It was after watching the movie “What the Bleep Do I Know” talking about how plants react to positive and negative words that I wanted to put the positive messages on the world so to speak. So, I grabbed a box of chalk and challenged myself to chalk at least one positive message every day on sidewalks in my community.

I was just like you know what? Maybe if I put this out there where other people can see it too – it will make someone feel better and it will make me feel better.

I had only planned on making it a summer project, but when the 3 months were over, I couldn’t stop. I carry chalk everywhere I go and chalk in different cities and states when I travel. Soon 3 months turned into a year, and then another, and another. This project helped me not only look for the positive every day but put it out for someone else to see hoping that it might just make their day a little better. I started posting the daily photos I was taking to Facebook and someone suggested I create a page, so that’s what I did. I invited people to create their own Sidewalk Chalk Project in their own town and have had people join in from across the country and several other locations around the world.”

Susan Melton Kindness Award Winner

Through her struggles, she found her purpose – making other people smile and recognize their worth. It’s a tiny gesture but “those little ripples of kindness, they keep spreading and that’s what we need. It makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing. If I know that I’m helping at least one person – that makes all the difference in the world.”

We know that the messages Susan puts out there make a difference and touch people in unexpected ways. We love Susan’s commitment to this project and are so proud to have her as part of our MKRO family.  

Susan received a certificate of appreciation and $250. Kind people tend to neglect themselves, so we tell our award winners to take this money and practice some self-kindness. 

We’d like to acknowledge the many people who were nominated. While we wish we could give our award to every person who makes kindness a way of life, we regret we have only a few to give. We want to thank each and every one of you for making our world better one kindness at a time.

We’d also like to acknowledge our generous donors, without you, we would not be able to give all these awards and grants.  Thank you.


Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $500 and let us help you spread kindness.


6 thoughts on “Announcing our Matt Kurtz Kindness Award Winner for May 2023”

  1. Powerful in its simplicity! I bet people in her community look forward to these positive messages! Thank you Susan..
    And Jackie

  2. Susan is an incredibly giving person, supportive and enthusiastic. I am so happy I was able to get to know her and am so proud of her for the work she does every day to lift others up.

  3. Susan’s commitment to her Sidewalk Chalk Project is amazing. Every day she helps at least one more person deal with depression and offers hope and encouragement to all!

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