ePIFanyNow – A kinder world and a brighter future

Let’s face it; the world is a dark place these days. From cyberbullying and racism to horrible global tragedies, it gets harder every day for people to look on the bright side and see kindness in the world. Thankfully, there is a group working to combat that negativity one small step at a time: ePIFanyNow.

ePIFanyNow promotes acts of service and kindness within communities. Through simple actions like holding a door or letting someone skip in line, supporters of ePIFanyNow seek to create positive and transformational experiences that help spread kindness to their own communities and throughout the world.

The soul of ePIFanyNow was conceived during a stressful moment. While Bob Hoffman was out in the world one day, he reacted negatively to someone that he felt wasn’t paying attention. He quickly realized, just perhaps, that he also wasn’t paying attention. 

Hoffman created the organization along with hundreds of volunteers to help make mid-Michigan and communities across the country kinder to each other and within themselves.

“I just felt like, at that time, the world needed some goodness,” said Hoffman. “And, I think it’s even more so today that we need to have positive things that we hear about. There’s a lot of positivity that goes on in the world. We just don’t hear about it.” 

ePIFanyNow also holds an annual event to celebrate the acts of kindness that participants share. This year’s event on May 6 will boast awards, food and discussions of how ePIFanyNow has inspired kindness.

First, volunteers will share their experiences of being intentionally kind to strangers. Whether they did something small like returning a cart at a grocery store or they did something massive like helping someone pay off a mortgage, every speaker will be celebrated for the work they have done over the past year to make communities friendlier. Those that wish to attend the event are asked to do their random acts of kindness prior to the event, so they can all share their experiences and see the impact of kindness on others.

After these discussions, the board will announce the winner of the annual Youth Passing It Forward (Y-PIF) award, which recognizes a young person who spends their free time giving back to the community. 

Nominees for the Y-PIF award must have come up with an initiative that helps people in their communities. For example, the 2017 recipient, Kanin Thelen, was given the award after she started singing to raise money for those battling cancer. After she learned that her voice coach was battling the disease, she started taking requests and sang songs either in person or on video for those that donated money to her teacher. 

Thelen’s generosity didn’t stop with her coach. She’s continued to sing and help those around her, including donating money to a classmate with leukemia and singing to patients in the Children’s Center at Sparrow Hospital. Through her voice, Thelen has helped to change the lives of many.

Applications for the Y-PIF award will be open until Monday, April 9. In addition to the honor of the award and the recognition received at the event, the recipient will win a total of $1,000. Half of the prize money will go toward a cause of choice, either to continue funding efforts or as an opportunity to expand efforts. The other half will go to the child’s school, and, along with their administration, the winner will get to brainstorm an initiative they will implement using the prize earnings. The kindness spread will not only be felt by the classmates, but by the community.

Aside from honoring youth, there are plans to present the ePIFanyNow Hero Award. The award, which was created to honor people with missions like ePIFanyNow, will be given in honor of the late Chris Rosati. 

Rosati, who battled ALS for many years, devised a plan to steal a Krispy Kreme truck and give donuts to children in his community to spread joy and kindness. Thankfully, his plan did not happen exactly as planned, since Krispy Kreme donated a truck and 1,000 donuts. And his work did not stop. 

Rosati soon started giving local schools Butterfly Grants, too; although small at $50, these grants allowed students to spread kindness among their peers. This initiative became so popular that it has since spread to dozens of schools across the country, allowing Rosati’s influence to affect not only his own community but the world at large.

Unfortunately, Rosati passed away from ALS last year; to honor his work, ePIFanyNow has created the Hero Award to thank him for making the world kinder. Rosati’s wife, Anna, will be honored at the upcoming event, and she will give a speech on behalf of her late husband. The work that Rosati did with his last years of life will be felt for generations to come. ePIFanyNow is proud to celebrate his unwavering commitment to global kindness.

If you would like to get involved with a vital organization that is dedicated to kindness throughout the world, there a few things you can easily do: go to ePIFanyNow.org, and look at ideas for random acts of kindness that you can perform in your life; spread the word among friends and family, so that we can all work toward a kinder future; and join ePIFanyNow’s event on May 6, which will be held from 1-3 p.m. at the MSU Federal Credit Union in East Lansing, Michigan. To RSVP for the event, visit ePIFanyNow.org.

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