EAST LANSING - The 9th annual ePIFanyNow: Pass It Forward Event was held on Sunday. The event brings people together to celebrate kindness and recognize acts of positive change. The Y-PIF (Youth-Pass it Forward) Award recipients are local youth, grades 5 through 12, who have made a positive impact in their communities. Hosted by Michigan State Federal Credit Union, attendees could vote on which students they think most deserve additional funding, which is awarded as prize money at the event. This was also the inaugural year of the HERO Award. The HERO Award was given posthumously to Chris Rosati of Durham, North Carolina which was accepted by his wife, Anna, and two daughters, Dalany and Logan, who traveled to East Lansing for the event.
Chris was diagnosed with ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. As Chris's body was weakening he focused his energy outward by doing little acts of kindness for strangers around him, and started Inspire MEdia Network. Chris wanted to inspire everyone to do small things but especially children so they could learn to appreciate the joy of giving and carry that attitude into their adult lives. Anna Rosati explained how Chris came to be honored with an award so far from home, "The Inspire MEdia organization my husband started is very like minded with ePIFany Now, and Bob Hoffman, and so through some of the publicity that Chris gained on CBS that's how Bob found Chris and chose to honor him."
Bob Hoffman is the founder of ePIFany Now and began the event to help create a continuous momentum of kind acts. When Bob heard about Chris' work he felt an immediate connection to him. "Our whole mission is about spreading kindness exponentially and that's what Chris did, Chris is from North Carolina but his act of kindness rippled all the way to Michigan. And that's why I ask everyone when they attend the ePIFany Now Event is to leave here today and do something kind for somebody else. Spread that kindness forward." The 2018 event was a hit with those who attended as people took the time to soak in the positive environment, and learn of other's wonderful stories.
Karena Short a middle schooler at Waverly Middle School in Lansing helped to organize a fundraiser put on by students who collected pop can tabs for Ronald McDonald House. 45,000 pop tabs and about $250 dollars in separate donations were collected. She was presented an additional $500 check from ePIFany Now that she intends to donate to Ronald McDonald House. Karena is a prime example of someone taking a bit of their time to get a positive ball rolling and seeing it turn into a runaway success story.
The infectious nature of smiles was on full display by the end of the event as Hoffman said, "we all have that power in ourselves to do something, to change a life for the better."