Take a Smile for people likely to be feeling Isolated



Take a Smile outside the Asylum and Immigration Bureau in Barcelona (2014)




Societal Issue Targeted:
A simple reminder that we live in a beautiful world full of friendly and kind people


Take a Smile is a brilliantly subtle tool when used as an kind and friendly gesture to show support and encouragement to those likely to be feeling isolated in your community. An unexpected positive gesture from a stranger, who has no reason to be nice to you, can be a really powerful and moving experience.

On the right is an album of me and Katarina outside the Asylum and Immigration Bureau in Barcelona, a place where we knew we could meet a lot of people new to the country with a welcoming and warm smile, and also a lot of people having a bad day due to the unavoidable discomfort we all know from any dealings with bureaucracy ..indeed there were not many smiling faces coming out of the office until we offered them one! :O) 

Finding people in your town who are likely to be isolated is easy, just think who might be in need of a warm gesture of support and then think of where they might be. Its important to realise that some people may feel uncomfortable, or annoyed if they feel as though they are being targeted and treated as though they are a charity case. Support groups are a great example as many people there are likely to value their anonymity, for example, alcoholic anonymous or depression support groups. Avoiding this is fairly easy, simply find out what time and where a group is meeting, and then take a few friends with Take a Smile signs to stand at the nearest public transport station at the same time the group finishes; so that those attending can remain anonymous, but we know that we will reach some of the people attending with our kindness and support as they travel home.


Suggestions of groups likely to be feeling isolated:

Other suggestions for groups likely to be feeling isolated who’d appreciate a warm welcoming gesture and a smile from a stranger :

  • Troubled Youth
  • People who are Homeless
  • Asylum Seekers
  • People with Special Needs
  • Prisons and groups helping those at risk of re-offending
  • People who are long-term unemployed
  • Those with mental health issues
  • The long term sick, incapacitated, and those with terminal illness
  • Elderly people
  • Groups reaching out to the lonely
  • Support groups for depression, bereavement, and socially isolating issues such as ADHD, Aspergers
  • Rich people (yes its true, wealth can have a very isolating effect!)