The Story Behind the 'Don't Give Up' Yard Signs Encouraging Neighbors Around the World

Woman stands with her family in front of several white signs that say things like "Don't Give Up", "You Are Not Alone", "You Matter", and "Your Mistakes Do Not Define You"

This Woman Staked Positive Signs in Yards Around Her Community — and Started a Global Movement

All over the world, mysterious signs have been popping up. They say messages like: “Don’t give up.” “You are worthy of love.” “Your mistakes don’t define you.”

The woman behind the mysterious signs, Amy Wolff, is a mom living in Oregon, who saw an opportunity to make a difference and took it.

Little did she know that their project would turn into a global movement featured on Good Morning America, Yahoo, the Washington Post, NowThis, and on countless other media.

Ilustrated sign that says Don't Give Up
Don't Give Up sign / Illustrated by Carra Sykes for the Goodnewspaper

One weekend in 2017, Amy and her family anonymously staked in yards in their small town of Newberg, Oregon. They had just learned of suicide rates in their town and wanted to find a way to encourage community members.

Quickly, the signs started making a buzz around town — and began going, to some degree, viral within local community groups on Facebook. People were asking where they came from and how they could put up some of their own.

Within days, Amy incorporated Don’t Give Up as a nonprofit, and products (which the organization sells at cost, meaning she makes zero money from sales) have shipped to all 50 U.S. states and 26 countries, including the Philippines, Rwanda, Costa Rica, and Zambia.

She simply wants to create products that encourage her community.

Woman stands with her family in front of several white signs that say things like Don't Give Up, You Are Worthy of Love, You Are Not Alone, Vales Mucho, Your Mistakes Do Not Define You, You Matter, It's Not Too Late
Amy Wolff and her family, standing behind her "Don't Give Up" signs / Photo courtesy of Find Your Voice

Among other products aside from yard signs, the organization also creates car decals, pencils, temporary tattoos, and stickers.

Now the Don't Give Up movement serves more than as a response to suicide — it’s also a comforting cancer patients, those enduring the loss of a loved one, and those recovering from sexual assault and inspiring people to have the courage to leave abusive relationships or overcome addiction.

Instagram from sharon_m_lee: White yard signs that say: Don't Give Up, Your Mistakes Do Not Define You, It's Not Too Late, You Are Enough, Vales Mucho, We're In This Together, and You Are Worthy of Love

“I just had a woman knock on my door,” writes a woman on the organization’s website. “She began to cry and thank me for the signs in my yard. She lives up the road and said her son had attempted suicide and these signs were in the yard the day they came home from the hospital. She drives by every day and for her, her son, and her daughter — the reminder is profound."

Where can I get a Don't Give Up sign?

Don't Give Up movement signs are available at cost from dontgiveupsigns.com. You can buy the classic Don't Give Up sign, mini Don't Give Up signs, as well as stickers, t-shirts, and bumper stickers.

You can listen to our podcast episode with Amy Wolff about Don't Give Up — and about three myths about changing the world.

You can order Amy's book, Signs of Hope: How Small Acts of Love Can Change the World on Bookshop and Amazon.

Article Details

August 29, 2021 5:00 PM
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