This Woman Staked Encouraging 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.

Illustration 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.

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 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.

“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."

You can listen to our podcast episode with Amy Wolff about Don't Give Up — and about three myths about changing the world — here. You can order Amy's book, Signs of Hope: How Small Acts of Love Can Change the World on Bookshop and Amazon. And you can order your own sign from Don't Give Up here.

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August 29, 2021

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