an inspiring 9 year old and his cardboard arcade…


22/07/2012 by Sarah Ritchie

This video has to be one of the most inspirational things I have ever seen.

It is all about a 9 year old boy, Caine Monroy from East LA, who had a dream. He wanted to build his own arcade, complete with games, prizes, tickets and a business plan. So he did – out of cardboard – and set up the arcade in his father’s auto parts shop.

Weekend after weekend Caine doggedly sat at his arcade waiting for customers…who didn’t come. Until one day, one man named Nirvan Mullick came to the shop to buy a spare part for his car. He saw the arcade, paid his money and played the games.

Nirvan received permission from Caine’s father to make a short film about Caine and his arcade. Through his skill in telling a story through film, plus his knowledge of social media, Nirvan started what was to become a rolling snowball of inspiration.

You have to watch the video to see the story of the arcade, but it is what is happening now – as a result of Caine’s hard work and this video – that is also amazing. When you visit either the WEBSITE or the FACEBOOK PAGE, you will see that Nirvan set up a fundraising initiative to create a college scholarship fund for Caine. The target is US$250,000 and they have already reached over US$212,000 from 17,000+ donors!

Not only is Caine’s educational future secured (can you imagine what he will be able to achieve as an adult?!), so are the futures of other awesome kids. Here is a blurb from the website:

The Imagination Foundation formed 5 days after the Caine’s Arcade film was posted online, with the support of a $250,000 Matching Grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation. The Imagination Foundation’s mission is to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.

For every dollar donated to Caine’s scholarship fund, the Goldhirsh Foundation will match it (up to $250,000) to support the futures of other children.

What strikes me with this is that we have a story of three incredible people:

  1. Caine Monroy. Caine is a creative genius. He had a passion, and was motivated to do something about it. Not only did he build a cardboard arcade in impressive detail, it was fully functional and fun to play. When no one visited his arcade he stubbornly refused to give up. He took pride in his work and in his dream, and did all this with a huge smile on his face.
  2. George Monroy (Caine’s father). George is perhaps the forgotten hero of the tale. You can tell he really loves his son. George wasn’t just humouring his son’s fancies to keep him out of his hair during summer break. You can tell that he recognised his son’s talents and interests, then supplied encouragement, nurture, space and resources to help his son bring those ideas to life.
  3. Nirvan Mullick. Nivan took the time to stop and ask the right questions. He cared enough to see the potential in one 9 year old boy to go one step further and use the skills and experience that he had to make a difference in one person’s life. He didn’t have to. No one paid him to do it. If you asked him did he originally think that his actions would change Caine’s life forever, he would probably have said no.

The thing is, we may not all be a Caine, but we can all be a Nirvan. How?

  • First off, you have to care. This involves looking outside of yourself – and your own issues – and focusing on others.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people you share this planet with.
  • Slow down. Rush and you will miss it.
  • Keep your eyes open for opportunities. They may not always come in a form you would expect.
  • You don’t need money to change somebody’s life. All it may take are your hands, ears, heart, time, skills, knowledge or connections.
  • Go for it. Don’t let fear hold you back.
  • Stay with it. Unless you are giving money, making a difference is usually a process. Don’t bail out early!
  • Smile…you have just done what most other people will probably never do. Congratulations!

Many thanks go to Nirvan, Caine and George for inspiring each other, and for inspiring countless others…even down here in New Zealand…which is about as far from East LA as you probably can get. Your ripples of inspiration have spread across the world!


2 thoughts on “an inspiring 9 year old and his cardboard arcade…

  1. abstract art says:

    Hey would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to
    start my own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Sarah says:

      Hello there! My apologies for not replying back to you sooner…your comment went straight to the SPAM folder for some reason! I don’t mind you asking at all. This blog site is using a free WordPress Template “Chaotic Soul”. I did a substantial amount of research into blog platforms prior to starting my blogging life. I now run four blog sites, and they are all on WordPress templates. I have not modified the HTML of any of the templates (only because I do not know how to!), but I have worked out various “techniques” to make all the templates function more like a website than a blog site. Actually, the Canvassing My Friends blog is the only one that I have pretty much left in its original state to look and function like a blog.
      Wordpress is awesome. You can push and pull the free templates quite a bit. If you ever decided to turn your free blog into a full-blown website, then WordPress is an excellent base to start from.
      When you are picking your template, try to choose one of the more recent ones. You need to have a template that has been designed and coded to work well on mobiles as well as PCs, and one that you can personalise as much as you can.
      For two of my blog sites I purchased a template to use (no more than US$100), and the added design appeal and functionality was certainly worth it in those instances.
      I wish you well in your endeavours!

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Sarah Ritchie
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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
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