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Caine's Arcade

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Caine's Arcade Short Film

9-year-old Caine Monroy spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad's used auto parts store. The entire summer went by, and Caine had yet to have a single customer. Then, on the last day of summer, a filmmaker named Nirvan  stopped to buy a door handle for his car. Nirvan became Caine's first customer, but the story didn't end there. Watch Caine's Arcade to see what happened next, and then watch "Caine's Arcade Part 2" to see how the movie grew into a movement! If you like this story, please share it with friends!

Partnering with Reddit to Foster the Creativity of Kids Everywhere!

Our Imagination Foundation and Reddit are partnering to foster the creativity of kids everywhere!

Love how this has come full circle!

Inspired by the response to the film, we asked ourselves if there was a way to foster the creativity of kids like Caine in communities around the world. We began to work with local educators and parents, created a new non-profit (the Imagination Foundation ), and developed a Global Cardboard Challenge which culminates in an annual 'Day of Play' on the anniversary of the flashmob we did for Caine. The idea is to bring communities together to build, play and celebrate the creativity of kids in communities everywhere.

The event has grown quickly, and over 100,000 kids now take part each year. Our Imagination Foundation recently partnered with the National Headstart Association to introduce 30,000 pre-school kids to STEM. largely in underserved communities, via our Cardboard Challenge, and we are now partnering with reddit to foster the creativity of more kids everywhere.

This year, our Global Cardboard Challenge will culminate in a day of play on October 11th, 2014, which will be the same day as the 3rd Annual Global reddit Day of Service, which is featuring our Cardboard Challenge as a fun, easy, and scalable way to have an impact for kids locally.

Find out how to take part in our Annual Global Cardboard Challenge here:

Big thanks to all of our local organizers, and for helping to share this story.

2nd Annual Global Cardboard Challenge: Hosted by Jack Black, Kid President, & Imagination!

The Imagination Foundation has launched our 2nd Annual Global Cardboard Challenge! Kids: build something awesome with cardboard, recycled materials, and imagination - then invite the world to play on Oct 5th! Check it out, and take the challenge:

Our first Cardboard Challenge had over 270 events in 41 countries. This year, with the help of amazing volunteer organizers around the world, we're hoping to engage 1 million kids in 70 countries in creative play. And on Oct 5th, the 2 year anniversary of the Surprise Flashmob that we did to make Caine's day, we will have our 2nd global "Day of Play" where people around the world come out to play, and make the day of kids everywhere. The Cardboard Challenge will continue throughout the year, and every day can be a day of play!

Big thanks to our friends Jack Black and Kid President for helping us co-host this year's Global Cardboard Challenge! We're also super thankful to our friends at Mattress Firm  for helping us to "Challenge America" - Mattress Firm is collecting and distributing free cardboard for kids taking part in the Cardboard Challenge at  1,200 retail stores across America. Need cardboard? Visit a local Mattress Firm (you can also donate craft supplies!) - More info on that here:

More high fives to Goldhirsh Foundation. California Community Foundation. and MakeDo (makers of awesome re-usable cardboard play kits) for the support. And of course a huge thanks to Team Caine and all of the amazing organizers hosting events, saving cardboard, and giving kids the space to play and dream.


1 Year Later: Caine's Arcade Updates

It's been just 1 year since I posted Caine's Arcade online. What an amazing, life changing year.

Some highlights Since posting Caine's Arcade:

• Over $231,000 has been raised for Caine's Scholarship Fund (which has been officially & formally set up !) thanks to over 19,000 individual donors

• Over 7 million views on YouTube and Vimeo

• Over 1 million views on our Part 2 followup Video

• Launched the Imagination Foundation and our first annual Global Cardboard Challenge with over 270 events in 41 countries engaging tens-of-thousands of kids worldwide in creative play.

• Caine was the youngest ever entrepreneur to speak at USC Marshall School of Business, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and recently spoke at TEDxTeen hosted by Chelsea Clinton. Caine also received the Latino Spirit Award from the California State Assembly, and a cardboard key to the city.

• Thousands and thousands of visitors to Caine's Arcade (he still gets hundreds of customers every week!)

And we're still going, having hired a great Executive Director to lead our Imagination Foundation, and we've been putting together a great Board of Directors to help lead to organization. Our next goal is to engage 1 million kids in 70 countries in creative play via our Cardboard Challenge. We will need help, so please get involved here and share this with friends/educators:

Meanwhile, my life has been transformed as well. 1 year later, I'm still working on Caine's Arcade stuff, doing a lot of speaking and travel, and the Imagination Foundation continues to grow. I also got picked up by WME for writing/directing/speaking and am developing several film and creative projects.

Thank you for an amazing year!

Please check our Caine's Arcade Facebook page for more updates.

Caine's 5 Lessons on a Barf Bag for Entrepreneurs

Caine and I went to France to speak at the Canne's Lions International Festival of Creativity (Caine was the youngest speaker ever at Canne's Lions !). On the flight back to Los Angeles, I asked Caine to reflect on some of the things he learned. He didn't have anything to write on, so he wrote this list on the Air France Barf Bag called "What did Caine Learn." Photo of the Barf Bag below - check out what Caine underlined.

  1. Be nice to customers.
  2. Do a business that is fun.
  3. Do not give up. (Caine circled and underlined this one three times)
  4. Start with what you have.
  5. Use recycled stuff.

What are your thoughts on Caine's business plan?

Share your thoughts with us on this photos page on Caine's Arcade Facebook Page , tweet me @nirvan or @cainesarcade  - or send us a barf bag with your business plan!

President Clinton Funpass Story

So, this blurry photo of President Clinton with the original Caine's Arcade funpass comes with a funny story I wanted to share.

Last week, I was up in Mountainview to give a presentation at the Social Innovation Summit. The summit was amazing, with talks from worldchangers like Sal Khan, founder of the Khan Academy. and Barbara Bush, founder of the Global Health Corps. I was humbled to speak as part of Hunter Walk's YouTube panel, and shared the story of Caine's Arcade and the Imagination Foundation .

After the presentations, a few of the summit attendees got together for a small dinner at a nice restaurant. Barbara Bush was at the dinner, and being the daughter of a former President, recognized a few of President Clinton's security detail in the restaurant. President

Clinton happened to be at the same restaurant having dinner. Random. On our way out, as we passed President Clinton's table, the security agents said hello to Barbara, and president Clinton got up from his table to say hi. Barbara, who had seen my presentation, graciously introduced me to President Clinton, and I had a moment to shake his hand and snap this photo before he went back to his meal.

I was looking at the photo on my phone, excited about sharing it with Caine's fans online, when I felt a huge hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see the largest of the President's security agents towering above me. In a deep, deliberate, no-nonsense voice, he said to me: "So, that is for personal use only, right?" I was confused, trying to process what was happening. He continued, "We wouldn't want to see this photo posted online, implying any kind of endorsement." Oh. I started to feel deflated. His grip tightened a little, "We would hate to get our lawyers involved."

"Oh, OK," I assured him, "I won't post this anywhere."

The security agent nodded, released his hand from my shoulder, and went back to his post. Internally, I went from excitement to disappointment, realizing I wouldn't be able to post the photo online. Of course, I'm sharing it now, and if you're wondering why, it's because of what happened next.

As I was on my way out, I stopped, and decided to go back for a long shot. I went back up to the security agent, handed him my card, and told him how the funpass President Clinton was photographed with was from a short film I made about a 9-year old boy who built a cardboard arcade. at which point, the security agent interrupted me, and said: "You made Caine's Arcade. " Um. Seriously? I told him that, yes, I was Caine's first customer. This steel-eyed secret service type guy with giant muscles beneath fitted suit then looked at me and said: "That movie made me cry." I stood there without words. He then leaned in, put his hand on my shoulder (in a much friendlier way), and said, "You can go ahead and post the photo." He then took my card, shook my hand, and promised to try and show President Clinton the film.

And so, I'm sharing this photo. Hope it makes you smile.

Chapter 2: Caine's Arcade Goes Global

Here is the followup film to Caine's Arcade. This film was inspired by all of you, and the amazing response from kids around the world. The followup film tells the story of what has happened in the 5 months since the original film was uploaded, including the birth of the Imagination Foundation and the launch of the Global Cardboard Challenge.

Caine Reflects on Growing Older. 10!

Caine is turning 10 this week. He wrote this little essay on getting older which will be published in Jewels of Elul  on "The Art of Aging":

I don’t really like to think about growing older, I like being 9. If I get older I will be like my grandpa and become slow. You also are not able to see that well and can’t do or build the things you like. I get to do all the things my friends do. When you are a kid you get to ride bikes, scooters, play with toys and use your imagination. You don’t have to go to work or do all the things old people do. I can keep working on my arcade and making it more creative. When you are older you have to go to college and you have a lot of homework and have to work. At my age I have been able to meet many different people that come to the Arcade and gotten to go to many places like France. I like that I have met all these people and kids and I have learned a lot from them. I think if I was older I would not have enjoyed it so much. Well I might want to be older? Age 10, which I will be next month, only because I will have two digits in my number.

- Caine Monroy (still age 9 for a few more days)

We're having a big birthday party for Caine at his Arcade this Saturday, and you're invited! RSVP for Caine's Bday on Facebook  and share with friends.

P.S. Hours at Caine's Arcade for this Saturday will be 9am - 6pm. Cake at 1pm. Juli Crockett will be singing the Caine's Arcade theme song around 1. We're also doing an Octocopter shot for the Imagination Foundation's Global Cardboard Challenge  launch film at around 6pm. Details and RSVP on Facebook .

P.P.S. We're hoping to get Caine closer to the $250k Scholarship Goal to help him get ready for an engineering degree or whatever he decides to pursue. Caine's Scholarship Fund is also being matched dollar-for-dollar to help us start the Imagination Foundation  (@imagination ). We're currently at $212k of the $250k goal! Thank you everyone who has chipped in so far. For anyone who would like to chip in to help us reach the goal, please click the PayPal donate button in the right side-bar. Thanks!

Help Organize the Global Cardboard Challenge

In the 3 months since posting the Caine's Arcade short film, over 100 schools in 9 countries have built cardboard arcades. Hundreds of kids in kitchens and garages around the world have built cardboard games, often using them to raise funds for various causes. This has inspired us to dream up something big and fun, but we're gonna need your help to pull it off.

This September, the Imagination Foundation  will launch the Global Cardboard Challenge . inviting the world to play while raising funds to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.

Super Kids Cardboard Arcade in British Columbia, Canada!

In September, we will launch a website (and follow -up video) inviting participants to register online to build something awesome out of cardboard -- arcades, rocket ships, labyrinths, etc. Cardboard Challenge Events will be of all sizes, from entire schools to a single family in their kitchen to community block parties (there are already 57,000 kids in Australia & another 8,000 in South Africa who will build cardboard arcades!).

September will be the month to organize and build, then on October 6th  (the one-year anniversary of the flashmob we did to make Caine's day), friends, family, co-workers and community members can come out to play at Global Cardboard Challenge events, celebrating the creativity and imagination of kids around the world.

Cardboard Robots in Costa Rica

In addition to being a ton of fun, the events will raise funds for Imagination Foundation  programs to foster creativity and entrepreneurship in kids, as well as supporting local causes chosen by individual event hosts (kid-made cardboard arcades have already raised funds for School PE programs, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, a Children's Hospital in New Jersey, and the Imagination Foundation). Educators are encouraged to use some of the Caine's Arcade Project-Based Learning curriculum and activity kits  as part of the Cardboard Challenge.

Volunteer Cardboard Community Organizers Wanted:

We're looking for awesome volunteers who can start helping *now* to get your community ready for our September launch. We will be coordinating via email, Google Hangouts, phone, twitter, etc. Please sign up if you can help.

We also need help to spread the word. Please share this with friends, educators, & community organizers who might want to get involved.  Thanks!

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