Promoting the power of integrity within promises and the effect it has on communities around the globe, Alex Sheen, founder of the international social movement “because I said I would,” retold his viral story and the chain of events that followed thereafter this past Jan. 30.
Sheen’s campaign began after the death of his father in Sept. of 2012. Sheen, who described his father as a “man of his word,” decided to send promise cards to those who requested them, initially via a Reddit thread.
Soon he found himself, along with the soon-to-be millions more, writing down promises on these cards to families, friends, community members and themselves.
The promise cards, printed in white and black, only have a small bit of writing on the corner that states “because I said I would.”
The promises people around the world have written vary from a young girl promising to stay by the side of her younger sister with downs syndrome to a Czech man promising to donate blood to those in need.
“It doesn’t matter if you speak English. It doesn’t matter the color of your skin or how much money you make, who you love or how old you are,” Sheen said. “We all understand the importance of a promise.”
Sheen’s presence at Weber State was due in part to Tara Peris, director of Student Involvement and Leadership, alongside other professional staff who had attended a conference last year where Sheen was the keynote speaker. Peris believed that Sheen’s message would be applicable to the students in higher institutions, such as Weber State, but also to surrounding high schools, like Roy High.
“We are constantly focused and exposed more to the negative. Having somebody come in with a different perspective, and with a catchy phrase that is easy to understand, makes it nice to have that positivity again,” Peris said.
Sheen’s promise cards have helped individuals take negative situations and often turn them into a positive. He retold the story of one of his promise card recipients, Garth, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer in his kidney.
Garth, who wrote notes on the napkins of his daughter’s lunch when while she moved from second to eighth grade, made a promise to write over 800 notes, one for every day until she graduated.
WSU junior Keaton Whitney, who is a personal fan of motivational keynote speakers, attended the event after hearing positive remarks about the event and Sheen himself, someone Whitney hadn’t known about prior.
Whitney, noticing the patterns that occur from other success stories, commented on the value of integrity Sheen has and his commitment to his word and to the empowerment of others.
“It empowers people to do more and, naturally as human beings, have ambitions,” Whitney said. “There are people that never take those leaps of faith, and promising to yourself that you will take those leaps of faith will get you to your future success story.”
Due to the giant success of Sheen’s foundation, there have been over 8.42 million promise cards sent to over 150 countries since 2012.
Sheen has started local chapters in locations such as Denver, Akron, Cleveland and Columbus and has been featured on programs such as CNN, Good Morning America, the Steve Harvey Show and has spoken four different times at TEDx Talks.
“Because I said I would, it ain’t about me, and I would go so far to say it isn’t even about my own father,” Sheen said. “It has always has been and forever will be about you.”