- THE MAGAZINE
Miresi.org, a new site dedicated to encouraging random acts of kindness, launched on Dec. 15, 2013. Miresi, named after the Persian word for kindness, is a new, kind-spirited company site which encourages random acts of kindness by allowing people to follow the effects of their kind acts as they’re paid forward.
Interested people must log on to the site first and create a free account before doing the act of kindness. With the account, do-gooders can download and print cards that share with the recipient that an act of kindness occurred and encourage the recipient to “pay-it-forward” and continue the kindness. Each card is coded with a unique number to enable tracking.
With Miresi, people can go out and do something nice for someone, and leave the card behind with the recipient. The card will direct the recipient to miresi.org where they can enter the card number, be able to see its history, and tell of their own experience; and of course, be encouraged to pay-it-forward in their own way. Each person associated with a card will be able to see the history of the card and track the card as it moves.
Miresi also allows members to form groups (schools, churches, communities, etc.) for friends to encourage each other, and follow kindnesses originating in their group.
“I came up with the idea of what is now miresi.org on a drive back from Chicago,” says Kelle Bovid, founder. “In the drive-thru at McDonalds, I paid for my drink but also for the meal for the gentleman in line behind me. The McDonald's employee was excited when I said I'd pay for the next meal and asked if I wanted to relay a message. I said 'just pay it forward'. I watched the man's reaction as he was told that his meal had been paid for. He laughed! So for $4 and some change, it made me happy, and brought some joy to the McDonald’s employee and the guy who got a free chicken sandwich. Is there a better way to spend $4? I don't think so. So this got me wondering if he ever paid it forward, and what affect might it have had on him. There could have been a great story there that was never captured.”
The pay-it-forward initiative has reached a growing popularity since Catherine Ryan Hyde published her novel, Pay it Forward, in 2000. Now, there is currently a Pay It Forward Foundation and the phenomenon continues on both the local and national level, where recently during the Christmas holiday 1,468 Starbucks customers in Newington, CT created a multi-day pay-it-forward chain in the drive-thru.
Miresi.org is the result of collaboration with Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. The CIS463 Information Systems Capstone course, taught by David K Lange of the School of Computing and Information Systems, provided Bovid with a team of four students and 11 weeks to create the entire site. The team created the coding, training, a user’s manual and administrative functions, like weekly reports.
“This isn’t about recognition or bragging about what you’ve done, but encouraging others in a social setting,” said Bovid. “When people see what others are doing, and that it’s not weird or uncomfortable to do something nice for a stranger, we’re hoping they’ll step a bit out of their comfort zone and make the effort.”
Miresi is currently developing iPhone and Android apps. There are future plans for another team from GVSU to develop a more complex multipath database to allow better tracking, as well as more GIS integration to enable a more visual representation of how a pay it forward event can influence society.