Student Spreads Joy Through Nonprofit Organization

Student Spreads Joy Through Nonprofit Organization

Photo by Meredith Robertson


Inspired by her loving mother, Meredith Robertson ’19 started a foundation in hopes of changing the lives of people across the globe. With nothing more than a jar and a selection of quotes, Robertson enables others to find inspiration when they needed itmost. Now, she is bringing this inspiration to Middlebury College.

According to Robertson, she was inspired by her mother to start her nonprofit. When she was going through a tough time, her mother gave her a bowl of quotes and told her to pick one from it each day.

“I was super against it at first, but eventually softened to the idea and figured it couldn’t hurt to just read one quote,” Robertson said. The first quote she pulled out of the bowl was by Albert Camus: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

She said that first quote changed everything. “I really needed the gentle reminder that I carry all kinds of tools and wisdom inside me, something we all forget, and that I could make it through my hard time,” she said. “This quote brought that forth and gave me a new sense of strength.”

Robertson kept her favorite quotes in the back of her phone case and before long it was full to bursting. Then at school one day, someone opened it up to see what she kept there and Robertson’s secret came out into the open.

“I had been keeping it a secret out of fear that my peers would judge me for needing a little extra help,” Robertson said. But rather than shaming her, Robertson’s classmates were enamored with the idea, and they asked her if she would be willing to give them a jar of quotes for themselves.

That was the start of Jars of Joy. Each jar contains thirty quotes, one for each day of the month, and different jars have different themes. From handing the jars out at school, Robertson and her mother moved on to sell them in local stores, then across the nation, and then all over the globe.

The jars cost fifteen dollars apiece and Robertson donates the proceeds to relevant charities, or “charities with similar goals.” Robertson said that notes from her customers and people she has impacted pour in every day.

Because of her impactful work with Jars of Joy, Family Promise, an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of those in need, recognized Robertson for her hard work. She was mentioned in their quarterly newsletter, where they described her as, “Spreading Joy, One Jar at a Time.”

According to Robertson, her Jars of Joy can help people in a variety of circumstances — they can help people in the hospital or simply make a bad day seem a little better. Her goal is to provide that one perfect quote which changes the mindset of a person going through a tough time, so that they can see the positive things in the world once more.

However, Robertson’s project is more than just selling jars. As Jars of Joy has grown, she has been invited to tell her story to various groups, and to show how a little positivity can make a person feel special.

The latest iteration of Jars of Joy is happening on campus. Robertson is currently set up in Old Stone Mill, where she has an office dedicated to Jars of Joy. Her project involves filming people as they read a quote and then talk about the first thing that comes to mind. She then posts these videos to Instagram.

The reason for all her projects comes from Robertson’s desire to make people feel good about themselves.

“Through Jars of Joy, I have discovered a true passion for joy and making people feel special,” Robertson said. She said she wants to bring a little bit of light to people who are feeling their worst.

As her nonprofit continues to grow, Robertson hopes to embark on even more projects. She wants to “mentor young girls to promote positivity” so that even more people will be able to help others.

For those interested in checking out Robertson’s business or volunteering with her nonprofit, she can be reached at [email protected] Her Instagram is @meredithsjarsofjoy. To find out more head over to