Kids from every country on the planet have done it again! They’ve shown us just how much they care. In my previous post we were in the middle of Club Penguin‘s 7th Annual Coins For Change. Club Penguin is the world’s largest virtual playground for kids 8 – 12. Kids take on a penguin avatar and waddle around the virtual island playing games and meeting friends. While playing games, kids earn virtual coins that they may use for decorating their personal igloo or outfitting their penguin. During Coins For Change, kids have the opportunity to give back. They can donate their hard-earned virtual coins to unlock charitable projects that we support around the world. Part of my job is to decide what charitable projects will be funded through the $1 million US donation we make to charities around the world.
This Coins For Change, we originally set a goal for 15 billion virtual coins donated to unlock 10 charitable projects. Our goal was definitely way too low! We just received the numbers from the event and it’s staggering what the kids did this year. Our players worked together to donate over 25 billion of their virtual coins. Through the generosity of our players, in addition to the 10 charitable projects announced, we have announced the support of 5 more projects. Combined, these projects will help thousands of kids, families and endangered animals in 19 countries. Projects range from helping real world penguins in Argentina, to funding a maternity ward in Malawi, to warm coats and toys for kids in need in the United States. Additionally, kids who participated in Coins For Change pledged to donate over 10,000 toys to kids in need in their own communities.
Scroll through the slideshow below to learn more about some of the supported charitable projects and read comments from kids who participated in Coins For Change:
Helping Families in Need 1 of 15
Thousands of families across the United States struggle daily to make ends meet. Through Coins For Change, we are providing 1,000 warm coats to support families in this situation. In this photo, a mom and her children receive new warm coats through our charity partner One Warm Coat. To keep the giving going, we're also the National sponsor of One Warm Coat's youth-led coat drives.
My favorite response from a child who learned about how we were supporting needy kids in the United States is this one from 23 Kitty, "...I also Love to help needy kids. My School is doing a HUGE toy and food drive, organized by our Me To We club, which I am in! Charities are my thing! Waddle on!"
10 School Libraries in Ethiopia 2 of 15
I met these two young girls traveling with Partners in the Horn of Africa in their rustic classroom in rural Ethiopia. They were excited to learn that their school would be receiving one of ten new libraries this year through Coins For Change. In this community without electricity or the tools we take for granted, the school had been built by hand by the parents. Their new library will be cinder block construction and will be a place for kids to study and have the resources they need to learn.
On our player blog Tech70 gave us their thoughts on this project and what kind of book they would give to kids in need: "This is so awesome. Some kids will receive better education and additionally have a good place to learn thanks to Coins for Change donations. :) Hmm... I would give a nonfiction book about the many countries and cultures of the world, so that whoever is reading it has knowledge of the diverse countries and cultures make Earth a great place to live!"
African Painted Dog Conservation 3 of 15
In Zimbabwe, Coins For Change is supporting Painted Dog Conservation through education programming for children and communities who live where the Painted Dog lives. This wild animal is critically endangered and needs the help of people to fight for it's survival. Educating communities is key so rural farmers understand these dogs are not a threat to their livestock. In this picture, a group of curious puppies gaze into the camera.
The kids who play on Club Penguin love animals so this project is a great one for us to support. As one of the players Chryssa1 commented on our player blog: "I have so much coins I have no idea what to do with!!! Now that I know that I can donate them I am so happy!!! I can help the animals that need to keep their homes!!! I am an animal lover!!!..."
Clean Water Project Ecuador 4 of 15
With Club Penguin's charity partner Free The Children we are supporting a clean water project in the community of San Miguel, Ecuador. This is a community where we have previously supported the building of a school and a school cafeteria. The community was overjoyed with the news that they would be able to access fresh water easily now.
Protecting Lions in Mozambique 5 of 15
Coins For Change is supporting the Niassa Lion Project through Wildlife Conservation Network. In this photo, a young boy holds up the artwork he has done in celebration of World Lion Day. It's the communities who live where endangered animals live who are key to protecting them! Preventing poaching and educating communities about the value of preserving the natural habitat of the lion help with the protection of this beautiful animal.
Playgrounds in Afghanistan 6 of 15
Universally all kids need a place to play. In war-torn Afghanistan finding a safe place to play is almost impossible. Coins For Change is supporting the building of three playgrounds for kids without access to one through Playground Builders. These projects also build peace by requiring the entire community to work together to build the playground and protect the space.
Snow Leopard Conservation in Russia 7 of 15
Through Wildlife Conservation Network, a protected wildlife corridor is being created in Russia to ensure that Snow Leopards have safe passage from one mountain range to another. In this photo, kids from a local school do a play about the effects of poaching for their community. The Club Penguin community loves that we support animals like Snow Leopards.
Protecting Saiga Antelopes in Uzebekistan 8 of 15
A relic of the Ice Age, the Saiga Antelope is an animal that has not changed much since the time it roamed the Asian steppe with mammoths and saber toothed cats. Sadly in the past 15 years, the number of Saiga have been decimated by 96%. Through Coins For Change we are supporting Wildlife Conservation Network to help protect the range lands of this Dr. Seuss-like animal through the education of kids and communities in Uzbekistan.
An Elementary School in Ethiopia 9 of 15
With access to education, girls around the world have a better chance to be economically independent. Girls who are educated also wait longer to get married and have children. In the Tigray region of Ethiopia, Coins For Change is supporting the building of a new school for kids who currently do not have one. Imagine 1 Day the charity implementing the project requires that the community work together with them to make the project happen.
Conservation Education in Peru 10 of 15
Coins For Change is supporting Rare's education programs for children and communities around conservation of the Golden Tailed Woolly Monkey in Peru. This beautiful monkey is critically endangered and needs the people who live near it to become the champion's for it's survival. Kids play a key role in this!
Penguin Conservation in Argentina 11 of 15
Through Coins For Change we are supporting the education of kids and communities in Argentina who live near the largest nesting grounds of penguins in the world. With Global Penguin Society, kids from a nearby community visit the Punta Tomba Penguin Reserve to learn about their Magellanic Penguin neighbors.
Helping the Andean Cat 12 of 15
In Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru the Andean Cat lives in the Andes but is very elusive. Habitat protection is needed to save this animal. Our support through Coins For Change for the Andean cat is through Wildlife Conservation Network. In this photo kids from an high mountain community are learning about the Andean Cat and the other animals that live where they live.
A Maternity Ward in Malawi 13 of 15
In poor rural areas around the world, many women still do not have access to medical care. Without access to medical care during pregnancy and delivery, 1 in 10 women die in childbirth. Access to trained medical professionals is key to a mother and her child's survival. Kids need a mom! Through Coins For Change, we are supporting the building of a maternity ward for women and their babies in rural Malawi. I met these kids visiting the area where the new maternity ward will be built with Partners In Health that will impact thousands of families in the region.
Kids Looking for the Lowland Tapir in Brazil 14 of 15
Coins For Change Infographic 15 of 15
How the 7th Annual Coins For Change worked this year! A final comment from our player blog where Jueybean writes: "Fantastic, after all these years I've realized that not only Coins For Change helps others, it changes the world. To do that we have all worked as a team. It's nice to help people that need the things to survive. Not only people but animals too. Just by donating 100 coins or more helps. I'm glad the Club penguin team takes the time to set up Coins For Change."