Chase Marvil provides positive thoughts at Woodbridge High School, across the world

By Mike McClure

The power of the internet and social media can sometimes be a scary thing, but Woodbridge junior Chase Marvil has used it to help other teens who are going through hard times, some of which may have suicidal thoughts. Through his Instagram and Twitter accounts, he has been posting positive messages which has resulted in 23,000 people following him. Many of those people have reached out to him through messages and mail.

Now Marvil is inspiring his fellow students with the Inspiring Wall, a wall in the Woodbridge High School lobby with 750 to 800 inspirational thoughts that were written on notecards by his fellow students and the school's staff. Messages like "Be positive", "Just be yourself", "Live for the future", "Pick yourself up", "Dream big", "Every day is a second chance for new beginnings", and "Chase your dreams" are among the inspirational words displayed on a large wall at the school.

The "Inspiring Project" started about a year ago when Marvil started receiving messages from people telling him their problems. As a result, he created the project to help eliminate suicidal thoughts and actions among teens and adults. He has received mail from people across the state (including Indiana and Illinois) and across the world (including Australia and Canada).

"They're thankful for me being able to help them," said Marvil, who added that he spoke to a girl from California earlier in the day. "It doesn't have to be a long conversation, it could be a couple replies (sometimes a couple days. It makes them feel better about themselves. They get through it and so do I."

Following the success of the project on social media, Marvil approached principal Robert Adams and assistant principal Kent Chase about bringing the project to the high school in the form of a wall. Adams and Chase signed off on the project and students were given cards on which they wrote something inspirational. Fellow students Rachel Driscoll, Matthew Snyder, and Dezhane Huggins helped Marvil post the cards on the wall.

"I didn't imagine it to be this nice," Marvil said while looking at the large display board filled with notecards.

According to Adams, a lot of students are stopping to read the board, but they don't touch it. Adams admitted he too picked up some words of wisdom from the wall which he plans to use in the future.

"It's just a real positive thing for kids. If this can just make them stop and think 'OK, it's not that bad', this has been a very positive thing for our student body," said Adams.

Marvil says his goal with the project was to help people from around the world and to hear their stories. The ultimate goal is to make an impact.

Last May his grandmother passed away. Marvil promised her that he would make a positive impact on the world.

"She always told me whatever I put my mind to I always do it, no matter how long it takes," Marvil said. "I told her I'd do something positive to change the world and I'm hoping this is it."

Whether it's through social media or the wall at Woodbridge, Marvil just wants to help people. The story of what he is doing has spread and other schools are looking to do similar walls. This week he will speak to students at the district's elementary school who also want to have a wall.

As for the future, the Greenwood resident would like to work in the media and be an entrepreneur. At the same time, he wants to keep his project going. He is doing all of this through the sale of Inspire Bands that read "I won't give up". He has already sold 100 of the 300 he ordered and will give the money to an anti-bullying and suicide help organization. He credits his family for instilling in him the willingness to help other without expecting something in return.

"My parents raised me to be positive and help people before they help me. They've had a big impact on how I live," said Marvil.

We're really proud of what he's done here," Adams added. "Everyone contribu-ted to it, which is another nice thing about it."

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