Kindness: to give before you get

Emily Berkeley -Software Engineer- helping with our kindness program. Photo by Luis Manzur

Alongside with passion, communication and integrity, kindness is one of our core values. We already practice kindness with our teammates, our clients and with the community of developers and designers out there (by mentoring and organizing meetups or other activities). However, we feel that we could and should be doing something to give back to our community by sharing our knowledge, our time and our love with those in need.

That’s why we started a kindness program, designed to give back to our community in any way we can think of.

Last week we had our very first activity: trash collecting -cleaning up the streets around our office-. We had been noticing that the streets were filled with trash and we wanted to do something about it. Since our office is located downtown, there’s a lot of tourists and people actually walking on the streets (something not quite common in Monterrey) and they litter.

Littering is super wrong. We have trash and garbage cans for a reason, so why throw away your trash on the ground when you could throw it away in its intended place? People still litter, largely for the following reasons:

  • Laziness.
  • The area is already messy, why bother finding a trash can?
  • There are no trash cans near.
  • People don’t realize that with littering, there do come consequences.
  • My neighbor litters, so do I!
  • Really? It’s just one paper!
  • People are starving in Africa! What do you care about littering?
  • I’m drunk.
  • The garbage can is too far away.
Our amazing Sales Engineer Lizeth Gonzalez Aguayo collecting trash. Photo by Daniel Lozano Valdés

Cleaning all of this trash was difficult, smelly and sometimes very disgusting and since we mainly focused on an abandoned lot right in front of our office, a great number of cockroaches, worms and other living things made an appearance every time we moved empty bottles.

We managed to get the front of the abandoned lot clean and trash-free and we had the help of two kind construction workers who approached us to lend us their shovels ❤ Also, numerous people who were passing by congratulated us on our work.

By the time we finished we ended up with a great feeling of achievement and even though we only made a small difference, we still made one.

The team working. Photos by Daniel Lozano Valdés
Days later we found out that the owners of the lot had cleaned up the entire thing. Inside and out.

That made us feel super powerful and proved that small steps make for big changes. It also reinforced the broken windows theory which states that a successful strategy for preventing vandalism, is to address the problems when they are small. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less).

We are now excited for our next activity, we’ll keep you posted.


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Lila Miller
Behavioral Psychologist, Happiness Manager at
Icalia Labs, founder of Internet Sweet Internet and RconErre.

Follow me on Twitter: @lilamiller

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