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In 1963, a commercial artist named Harvey Ball created the well known symbol, the smiley face. He designed it in under 10 minutes, and was paid $240 for the entire campaign. He received no further profits from his little invention. This round, yellow and happy icon continues to be recognized as a symbol of cheer and high spirits. Ball was concerned that the original intent of his smiley face would lose meaning so he decided to dedicate a special day to it; he declared the first Friday of every October to be “World Smile Day.”

The first World Smile Day started in Massachusetts in 1999 but is now celebrated around the world! This day gives each person the power to make a positive difference, no matter how small. Unfortunately, Ball died in 2001 but left behind his symbol of happiness to the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation which sponsors this special day each year. This non-profit foundation also supports children’s causes and is dedicated to making people smile. The catch phrase that they use is “Do an act of kindness- help one person smile”.

It didn’t take long for the smiley face to achieve an identity of its own that swept the nation. By the early 1970’s, it was the hottest selling image in the country, appearing on countless products. The U.S post office even issued a stamp with the smiley face on it. Today, the image is not as popular but hasn’t disappeared.

This year, October 7th is World Smile Day. It’s an opportunity to do an act of kindness, to make someone smile, or both! Support World Smile day by wearing the image on your jewelry or giving a smiley to someone else. Remember this bright little icon and improve the world, one smile at a time.

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