If you haven’t watched the short film Caine’s Arcade, drop what you’re doing and do so now:
Caine’s Arcade is a short film about a 9-year-old boy in L.A. that built an entire arcade out of cardboard in a section of his father’s used car part shop. The film now has millions of views on Vimeo and YouTube and has its own website. The website includes a link to donate via PayPal to Caine’s Arcade Scholarship Fund, which would be put towards Caine’s college education. As of press time, the scholarship fund now has over $127,000, up over $23,000 from April 11, 2012. What started out as a filmmaker’s attempt to tell the heart-warming story of Caine’s entrepreneurial spirit has now set him up for college when he turns 18.
This is just one example of hundreds of how the power of the internet and social media can be used for social good and change. The internet is made up of millions (if not billions) of people that care about one another. This makes it one of the most caring communities on the planet. The internet ties us all together; it gives us something to talk about and feel passionate about.
To change someone’s life through the internet, check out these websites, which allow you to choose a cause you are interested in or passionate about:
- KickStarter is the “world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” It allows people to post their idea, whether it be a new product, video game, movie, book, business, etc and people can crowdsource (meaning a group of individuals working together to make something happen) the funds to make it a reality. KickStarter has funded tons of products in a variety of worlds, including music, art, design, food, and publishing and project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work.
- DonorsChoose.org is “an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need”. Many times, public school teachers will spend their own money on supplies needed for their classroom. On this site, they can ask for supplies and materials for their classroom, including books and computers. Again, donors crowdsource the funds and many times, “Angel Investors”, which are anonymous will double donations from other donors. At press time, the DonorsChoose.org homepage says that “3,506 donors helped 98,741 students this week.”
- Kiva.org is a micro-lending site that empowers budding entrepreneurs around the world. Their mission statement is: “We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.” Each individual’s profile describes their business and most have a photo. Kiva boasts a 98.9% repayment rate and lenders have given over $302 million in loans to people in over 60 different countries since the site’s inception in 2005.