Feel-Good Friday: Cheryl Rice Turns the Phrase, 'You Matter,' Into a Global Movement

Collage of Images-Recipients of 'You Matter' Cards-Founder Cheryl Rice

Happy Pre-Thanksgiving Friday! The next Feel-Good Friday article won’t happen until the day after Thanksgiving, so I wanted to get my greeting in early. I am thankful for YOU dear RedStaters and readers, and for the opportunity to find the good happening in our world and share it with you.


I am also thankful for people who look for opportunities to lift others up, rather than tear them down. Cheryl Rice, the founder of You Matter Marathon, seeks to not only do this but show others how they can do it too.

You Matter Marathon is a global initiative to create positive connections between individuals and communities. If that sounds a little airy-fairy New Age, you might be right. But unlike a lot of New Age gobblygook, Rice’s organization fulfills its intention, and it only costs a person the risk of reaching out to their fellow man (or woman) by sharing a business-sized card with the words: “You Matter” printed on it.

Rice started this initiative seven years ago after a colleague gave her such a card.

From ABC7 New York:

“When it’s said sincerely, it’s the most essential message of our time,” said Cheryl Rice.

That saying, of course, is, “You Matter.” These two words were written on a card that Cheryl received seven years ago. And just a few weeks after that, she had a chance to pay it forward.

“I was in line at the grocery store, standing behind a woman in the checkout line and I overheard her tell the cashier her recent struggles,” she said. “I gave her a small card with only the words, You Matter. The woman started to cry and said, ‘You have no idea what this means to me.'”

This was in 2016, and Rice decided to print some cards of her own and asked for participants to give out one card a day during the month of November. For every individual that signed up, she sent them 30 free cards while her supplies lasted.


Rice had participated in all 50 states of the U.S. and in 59 countries around the world. Not just individuals, but churches, synagogues, school groups, and other organizations joined her movement. That year, from the cumulative result of all participants, they gave out almost half a million cards!

In 2017, Rice appeared on The Andie Summers Show podcast and shared her story and her goal of sharing one million cards that November.

Rice said that she and the woman to whom she gave the You Matter card shared a hug, which is a profound point of connection between total strangers. Rice went back to her car, had a good cry, then had an epiphany:

“This was an experience that other people needed to have and it was so possible for us to reach past our day-to-day interactions and really strike a chord with another human being.”

You Matter Marathon is now a non-profit organization and for seven years has created opportunities for others to reach out, connect, and forge a connection with another human being. The organization’s global reach has increased from 59 countries to 99, and its website spotlights the stories of people who experienced the gift of giving and receiving this acknowledgment.

During the 2017 podcast, Rice shared this profound thought:

“The kicker is, one of the things that made this so attractive to people is that when they signed up for the marathon. I mailed them 30 cards for free. That was really part of the energy, because people first experienced the marathon by receiving.

“Not only does it move the people who receive a card, but it changes the people who give a card. That’s part of the secret of this: it changes the giver.”


One of my favorite punny science memes is,

You Matter. Unless you multiply yourself by the Speed Of Light Squared, then, You Energy!”

Through her organization, Rice has pretty much done that: Multiplied her reach by leading others to make a positive connection. This in turn creates the positive energy that drives the You Matter Marathon.

As we enter the week of Thanksgiving, and then move into December and a season of Giving, maybe the greatest gift you can give someone is a moment of connection and a bit of your time. Or maybe participate in the You Matter Marathon and present someone with that small card that carries a huge message.

There are a number of ways that we can let people know that they are significant and that their presence and life do matter.


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