Group spreads positivity on PDX billboards


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Social media can be a breeding ground for negativity, but a local organization has made it their mission to bring more joy to the world.

“I was just having a very bad day, low energy,” Heather Madura told KOIN 6 News. “Was coming over the Ross Island Bridge and I look over to my right and I see this sign which touched me to tears.”

One local woman has made it her mission to bring more joy to the world. (The Joy Team)

The single mother of 3 has been struggling to make ends meet.

She reached out to the creators of the billboard to let them know what a positive impact the sign had on her.

“My sole purpose was to put positive messages on them,” Michele Larsen with The Joy Team said. “Billboards are a great way to do that because you can’t help but see them.”

Larsen comes up with most of the phrases on the billboards. She says the impact they have on people make them well worth it.

“Not too long ago we actually heard from a woman who had planned to kill herself,” Larsen said. “[She] saw our billboard that said ‘you make a difference’. Every day she saw it and she kept thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if that message was for me?’ and after she saw it so many times she decided it was.”

The Joy Team also organizes many events throughout the year that focus on positivity. The recent Chalk the Walks event brought community members together to “spread joy, optimism and inspiration through the magical power of sidewalk chalk.”

Larsen’s car has become a rolling billboard of happiness. It’s a small gesture that breeds powerful results.

“It’s a big billboard, but it’s a little saying,” she explained. “Words are so powerful. Power of positivity.”

Next week, The Joy Team will have about 20 billboards put up in locations throughout the Portland area.

The organization is always looking for sponsors. To find out how you can get involved, or about the Think Happy Rally next month, click here.

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