Teens’ roundabout signs spread uplifting messages

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Greenfield-Central senior Scott Stanley, left, and Class of 2020 graduate Addie Coil posted the inspirational signs in the city's roundabouts. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

GREENFIELD — Let’s face it. The year 2020 has been no picnic.

But rather than complain, a local teen decided to do something to lift people’s spirits.

Addie Coil saw signs with simple, positive messages posted in a roundabout in Pendleton earlier this summer and was inspired to bring a similar display to Greenfield.

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She and her boyfriend, Scott Stanley, are the ones responsible for the white signs that now grace the six roundabouts in Greenfield.

Inscribed with simple messages like “Believe in yourself” and “Don’t give up,” the signs are intended to inspire and lift people’s spirits in the midst of a chaotic year.

“I was tired of hearing about all the negativity,” said Coil, a recent graduate of Greenfield-Central High School.

“The whole corona thing happened, and people were being so negative about graduation potentially being cancelled; I thought ‘All right, let’s not just talk on social media, let’s do some good,’” she said.

She shared her vision for the signs with her uncle, local probation officer and auctioneer Wayne Addison, who encouraged her to reach out to Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell for permission to post the signs.

Coil emailed the mayor directly and obtained permission to post signs in the city’s roundabouts along McKenzie and New roads.

Addison offered some help: He let his niece use some of the leftover yard signs from his campaign for sheriff in 2018.

Coil enlisted the help of her boyfriend, an incoming senior at Greenfield-Central, and the two set to work transforming the signs — covering them with white poster board and inscribing inspirational messages in black paint.

The teens have been overwhelmed by the show of support they’ve received both in person and on social media.

“People were talking about how good it made them feel, how it brought a smile to their face, which is exactly the response I was praying for,” Coil said.

“People have been saying nothing but positive things. We didn’t do it to get the comments or attention, but hearing people saying the signs make them happy definitely makes us happy,” Stanley said.

“One lady said she was brought to tears because she had been having a rough day. You may not know what people are doing on any given day. They may just need some positive encouragement,” he said.

Coil credits her drive to help the community partly to her participation in the G-C Positive Students club.

When she first saw the signs in Pendleton, she knew it was something she wanted to do in her hometown.

“They made me feel happy, and I wanted to spread that to other people. I wanted to do something so people here could see those signs and feel the same way I did when I first saw them,” she said.

She and Stanley have discussed possibly re-posting the signs every summer when they come home from college.

Coil will attend Trine University in Angola this fall, studying exercise science with the hopes of becoming a physical therapist.

Her uncle said he was proud of his niece’s drive to encourage others throughout the community.

“She reached out to the mayor herself with her proposal, and took it through the necessary steps to get permission,” he said.

“I was very proud of her. I thought it was an amazing thing for a couple of young people to do. They just wanted to spread something positive, and we could all use something positive right now,” he said.