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Karen Klein and Max Sidorov: Paying it Forward to Stop Bullying
Many times, we see an injustice – on the news or in our daily lives – and say “Something needs to change.” But we do nothing, maybe because we don’t know how to make that change happen.
Max Sidorov decided to do something to make a difference. In June 2012, the Canadian graduate student saw a widely shared YouTube video in which middle-school students bullied Karen Klein, a 68-year-old school bus monitor in upstate New York. Sidorov was moved to help Klein – and to call attention to the problem of bullying. So he turned to Indiegogo, an online fundraising site that accepts payments through PayPal, and launched a campaign to give Karen the “vacation of a lifetime.” His goal: $5,000.
The video hit a nerve, and the campaign was widely shared on social media. A month later, the total from donors in 84 countries reached $703,000. No one was more surprised than Klein – except maybe Sidorov. “People love helping someone in need,” he told the Associated Press. “It just shows there are so many great people in the world.”
Klein invested some of the money to fund her retirement – then, together, Klein and Sidorov founded 7 Million Acts of Love, a charity focused on addressing the root causes of bullying and other violence. Their goals: to provide free counseling for bullied children, support a nonprofit television series featuring acts of kindness, and make it easier for people to collaborate on cause-related projects.
In a video promoting their project, also funded through PayPal donations at Indiegogo, Klein says, “I am so happy about everything everyone has done for me. And now, maybe, you can help others. I think that would be wonderful.”