“Don't Give Up”
Reader's Digest US|July - August 2020
Her heartbroken hometown needed a sign, so she gave them one
By Caroline Fanning

THE SIGNS APPEARED practically overnight. They’d been staked anywhere and everywhere— in front of homes, along sidewalks, around the local high school. Each featured just a few uplifting words in simple black type: “Don’t Give Up,” “You Are Worthy of Love,” “Your Mistakes Do Not Define You.” The high school in Newberg, Oregon, had lost two students and four alumni to suicide that year, so the town of 25,000 instantly understood the messages. For days, what no one could figure out was who had planted them.

Amy Wolff had. At first, she didn’t want anyone to connect her to them. For one thing, the 36-year-old mother of two didn’t really feel it was her place to weigh in. She had done so, in part, because she’d lost her own teenage brother in an accident about 20 years earlier, and she felt compelled to address Newberg’s grief. She planted the signs anonymously because she wanted them to be about their message, not any one person. It was compassion for compassion’s sake. “I couldn’t just do nothing,” says Wolff. “I’m not qualified, but gosh darn it, I can print yard signs.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM READER'S DIGEST USView All

RESCUE ON THE HIGH RISE BRIDGE

With his truck dangling 70 feet above a roiling river and a storm whipping 50-mph winds, a trapped driver’s only hope is a team of trained emergency rescuers—who are stuck in traffic

9 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

Lift Your Own Spirits

We all feel down now and then, especially lately. These techniques can help you bounce back.

5 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

GO AHEAD, DO NOTHING

We push ourselves to work harder, but taking a break can often fuel a burst in productivity and creativity

3 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

SWISH BURN LOVE

IT’S NOT PRETTY, AND IT’S NOT SWEET: HOW BROWN LISTERINE BECAME NO. 1 IN AMERICANS’ HEARTS AND MOUTHS

6 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

A Teacher's Lifesaving Call

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julia Koch began what was only her second year as a first-grade teacher in a virtual classroom at Edgewood Elementary School in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. One September afternoon a few weeks into the school year, she received a call from Cynthia Phillips, who was having technical difficulties with her granddaughter’s tools for online learning.

2 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

From Role Model to Runway Model

A disabled activist won’t let Twitter trolls stop her from seeing herself as she really is—a star

3 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

The FOOD ON YOUR PLATE

I Am Pistachios … An American Success Story

4 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

24-Karat Nuggets About Gold

13 Things:

3 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

Rules for Being the Age You Are

Whether you’re 20 or 120, the author’s surprise-filled guide can help most anyone live happily ever

4 mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

The Power of Family

This year, we asked readers a question: "When you think of 'family', what's the image you see?" The winning submissions, and the stories behind them, were all universal and remarkably moving.

4 mins read
Reader's Digest US
July - August 2020