Each Sunday I will be highlighting a different charity or charitable organization in the #Supernatural fandom. If you have any suggestions, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Random Acts -- Rea
Tell us about the charity you are involved in – what it is, how it started, who started it …
In Spring 2011 I saw a video shared by Misha Collins and the organization he just had Co-founded in the year before, Random Acts. The video was about the horrible earthquake in Haiti that happened in January 2010 and focused on a city in the South of the country called Jacmel. The idea was to fundraise to build an orphanage down there, helping kids in need into a safe and caring home. The video activated to join the fundraising team on Crowdrise with the prospect of being a part of a team that would travel to Haiti in the coming summer. I had heard of the epic run Misha had done and about Random Acts. With being in a financial secure situation I thought that this is something everyone should do at least once in their life, go over and help with your own hands in making a real important difference. So I started to fundraise for the first time in my life and made it to join the team for this first big trip. Since then I have been on 6 more trips with Random Acts, three to Haiti and four to Nicaragua. In June 2013 I joined the organization as Regional Representative for Germany. The destination projects are just a part of Random Acts. The Non-Profit Organization dedicates itself to Acts of Kindness around the world. There are so many wonderful ways to get kind and it does not always need much for this. We love to inspire kindness and support people around the world to perform their own Acts, including the possibility of receiving funds to realize them. I love to talk about the fact that Random Acts contains completely out of volunteers, that dedicate their time and love and guarantee you that a donation you make goes into a wonderful cause and not into an administration machine. It is an amazing organization and I love to be involved.
What kind of events have you participated in/money have you raised?
Next to several global Events Random Acts organized over the last 7 years like AMOK, E4K (Endure for Kindness) or Act Global and several own Acts of Kindness I performed with friends or colleagues including support for a children hospice and a refugee shelter my big involvement is in the destination projects of Random Acts. After we finished the beautiful Jacmel Children Center in Haiti which is now a safe and wonderful home for orphans we are building the Campus for a Free Highschool in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua to provide a chance for education to those who would not have the possibility to visit a school otherwise. I have been on 3 trips to Haiti and 4 trips to Nicaragua by now and I raised over 40.000,- $ in the last 7 years.
Why do you think the #SPNfamily is such a giving one?
Hmm, I think because there are some good role models in the cast, that inspire people to look out for each other, to be kind to the world, to go through it with open eyes. They show that it is great to be different, that it is fun to be kind. And that it is good to be a little bit weird, as there is so much amazing potential in this. There is a lot of energy and much dedication in this fandom, which makes it powerful. And the cast found wonderful ways to help channel this energy. It makes people build orphanages in Haiti or schools in Nicaragua, support amazing organizations, important causes and to get out of their way to be kind.
Tell us about the experience of going to Nicaragua.
Yes I went recently on my 4th trip to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, where we build a campus for a Free Highschool like I mentioned above. I attended the opening ceremony with my team mates and we were able to work more with our hands on the Campus we fundraised for over several years. It was so great! Seeing the finished much needed second building to the campus (we opened the first big building last year this time) was very moving. To stand there in the middle of a beautiful school experiencing it be filled with life, with laughter and with love and passion for education is more then amazing! And spending time with the students is the best, because they are the people we do this all for, it makes the actual wonderful difference we make so real and is the best reward for all the work we invested. So if you, who is reading this, supported this important cause or still wants to, I can promise you, you are part of something so special and you make a big change! Thank you! Would you like to support finishing the Campus in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua? https://nicaragua.randomacts.org/
Supernatural Tough Mudders
We are the Supernatural Mudders. A few years ago, Jared, Jensen, Rob, Rich, Osric and Jason did a Tough Mudder in Smithville, TX. That inspired a few of us in the fandom to see if it was something we could do as well. I personally had always wanted to to one, but had struggled for many years with a life-controlling fear of "being seen" so I would never have found the courage to try it if it hadn't been for the support and encouragement of the people I have met in the fandom. I think the idea was first floated in the facebook group SPNFit by one of our teammates, Leah Tuffly, and I jumped at the idea. She lives in the Houston area, and I am in Los Angeles. By the time we made it to that first event, the Central Texas Tough Mudder in 2016, we were 9 people strong and had raised $500 for Attitudes in Reverse, a small suicide-prevention organization that Jared highlighted in his AKF campaigns.
We did the Central Texas event again in 2016, but regretfully had dropped the fundraising ball.
We picked it back up again this year, and are actively trying to raise $5000 for the Free High School that Random Acts built in Nicaragua. $100 can send a student to school for a year, so we are hoping to forever impact the lives of 50 students this year. We are traveling to Whistler for the Tough Mudder this year in hopes of attracting some of the cast and crew that is local to the Vancouver area. We think that will boost our visibility and maybe spur some more interest and encourage more folks to join the team. There is still a team doing Austin this year, and they will be raising money for the FHS as well.
Our vision is to have a community of mudders doing events around the country raising money for good things. I realize that people can't always travel across the country to do the same event that I'm doing, but there are Tough Mudder events all over the world and it is our dream that there will one day be Supernatural Mudders at every Tough Mudder event, raising money and being a force for change and good in the world.
The Tough Mudder event is an incredible opportunity for people to challenge themselves, face their fears, overcome obstacles (actual and metaphorical) and be a part of an amazing, uplifting and encouraging community. The Tough Mudder is the single-best thing I have ever done in my life. Through it, I have found not only lifelong friendships but also something that was latent deep inside of me: a love for life and living and adventure and risk and challenge and accomplishment that came from climbing out of a dark hole that had kept me safe and hidden but also neglected and dying.
Our upcoming events are Tough Mudder Central Texas (May 5) and Tough Mudder Whistler (June 16). crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/random-supernatural-muddy-acts-spn-mudders-in-whistler-bc/janecarrhightower
Always Keep Fighting
March 3, 2015, has a special meaning for Supernatural fans. It is the day that Jared Padalecki started his Always Keep Fighting campaign.
Always Keep Fighting has become a rallying cry. It has shown us that a celebrity, someone we all know, look up to, and love, is human, just like us. Just like us, he has off days. Just like us, he has days where he feels like he wants to give up … but he doesn’t.
Always Keep Fighting sold 46,435 shirts in that first run. The charities involved were To Write Love on Her Arms, The Wounded Warrior Project, and Attitudes in Reverse.
Throughout the three years, Jared – and Jensen Ackles – have created seven other projects besides the first …
Campaign No. 2 -- “Moose and Squirrel”
Items sold: 70,121 t-shirts. 2,510 phone cases and 526 kid's t-shirts
Campaign No. 3
Items sold: 40,152 T-shirts
Campaign No. 4 – SPN Family
Items sold: 45,989 T-shirts
Also part of Campaign No. 4, a Thanksgiving special
Campaign No. 5 Love Yourself First
Items sold: 39,046
Campaign No. 6: I Am Enough
Items sold: 33,465
Campaign No. 7: Family Always Has Your Back
Items sold: 32,249
In total – not including phone cases, children’s sizes and such – Jared’s Always Keep Fighting campaign, in collaboration with Jensen – sold over 300,000 items. That’s T-shirts and hoodies, alone.
One of the many things I love about the #SPNFamily is the generosity. I’ll leave you with Jared’s words, here:
With files from SuperWiki http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Always_Keep_Fighting
Alana King -- @_KingBooks_
Tell us about your journey to falling in love with Supernatural and the fandom.
I first got into Supernatural in the summer of 2015. I was looking for a new TV show to watch, and all of my cousins recommended Supernatural. I’m not a fan of horror but because I love my cousins and trust their opinions, I decided to watch the first episode to see how I felt about the show. Immediately, I was hooked. I binge watched all ten seasons that were out at the time in less than a month, and fell head over heels in love. Before I had even finished watching the series, I went online and started following all of the cast members. At the time, Jared was running his third Always Keep Fighting campaign. I read about the cause, and it resonated with me, so I decided to support the campaign and purchase a shirt. I’ve supported every AKF campaign since.
When I graduated from high school in 2016, I asked my parents if my combined birthday and graduation present could be going to Saturday and Sunday of Supernatural Pittsburgh that summer. They agreed, and a few months later I found myself heading to the convention with my cousin. That convention really changed everything for me. I had been to normal, general comic cons before, but nothing could compare to the special experience I had that weekend. For the first time, I felt like I was in a place where I could be completely and totally myself. Everyone was so kind, the cast was lovely, and the Saturday Night Special completely blew me away. Meeting Jared and Jensen had me on the floor crying for a good twenty minutes. But despite all the excitement about meeting the actors, the best part of that weekend was being surrounded by people who understood my obsession with Supernatural. Fellow fans who shared my love for this TV series that had turned a fandom into the family. My cousin felt it too. We never wanted to leave.
A few months after the convention, I moved from Ohio to Chicago for my freshman year of college. Then when Supernatural season 12 premiered, I started posting consistent SPN content on my YouTube channel. That’s really when everything started to blow up for me. I made weekly videos such as episode reactions, predictions, convention advice, and more. By the summer of 2017, I had 20,000 subscribers and was most well known for my Supernatural content. At this point I had also started talking with inspiring friends like Lynn Zubernis (Fangasm), Shelley Harper (Con*Quest Journals) and Robbie Thompson.
In July of 2017, I headed to Chicago with another one of my cousins for the Supernatural convention that was being held there. We stayed Thursday through Monday this time, so we got the full convention experience. That con really was a turning point in my life and in terms of my YouTube channel. I got to meet online friends for the first time (finally got Shelley and Lynn hugs!) and I also met a lot of subscribers, which I wasn’t expecting. People came up to me all weekend, and it was so wonderful getting to know some of the viewers who watch my content. I loved seeing them multiple times over the course of the weekend; hearing their stories, giving them advice if they needed it, and putting some of them in the vlogs that I made! Nothing will ever compare to the sense of comradery that I feel when I’m at a Supernatural convention. I go to these conventions for my friends and subscriber family just as much as I do for the actors at this point.
SPNChi 2017 was also the start of my partnership with Creation Entertainment. I don’t work for them, but I do partner with them to make vlogs of their conventions. It’s a lot of fun, and without them, I wouldn’t be able to go to half of the conventions I am now able to attend. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with some of the Supernatural cast and crew on videos, which has been surreal and amazing.
So that’s the story of how I got into Supernatural and the fandom - as briefly as I could tell it. I am extremely grateful to be in this position, and to be able to interact with so many kind and caring members of the Supernatural family on a daily basis.
What made you decide to raise money for To Write Love on Her Arms and Always Keep Fighting?
I’ve been a huge supporter of the Always Keep Fighting campaign since I joined the fandom. A lot of my friends and family members struggle with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. I’ve also lost peers and family members to suicide. The AKF campaign gained a new meaning to me in May of 2017, though, when I read Jared’s chapter in “Family Don’t End With Blood”. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom, having just finished my freshman year of college, reading his words and crying my eyes out. I had known for a while, in the back of my mind, that I was having problems with anxiety in particular, but I never wanted to bring it up with anyone. I felt like if I could just keep it to myself, grin and bear it, I’d be fine. But I wasn’t fine. I felt so alone. Jared’s chapter made me realize that I’m not alone, that it’s okay and even healthy for me to talk about my anxiety. He inspired me to seek help. So I talked to my mom the next day about how I was feeling, and a week later I found myself sitting in my doctor’s office (sobbing again). I was officially diagnosed with generalized and social anxiety, which Iknow now I’ve struggled with for my entire life. I just never knew what it was, because I wasn’t educated enough about it.
Fast forward to now. Why did I run this fundraiser to benefit TWLOHA in particular? Because I know that they do amazing work for people who struggle with mental illness, self-harm, addiction, and suicide. Every single one of these things has touched my life in some way, even if I’ve only experienced one of them firsthand myself. TWLOHA also helps educate people about mental health, they bring awareness to the topic, which I think is extremely important. I could’ve sought help for my anxiety much earlier if I had just been educated about what it was. Jared introduced me to TWLOHA through his Always Keep Fighting campaigns (a portion of the proceeds from all of the AKF shirt launches went to them), so I thought it would be fitting to run the campaign in honor of him. He also inspired me to open up to my audience about my struggles with anxiety. It was hard for me to talk about it at first, but I realized that anxiety is a part of who I am so I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. It’s still tough, but being open about it has helped me cope with it. I also know that a lot of my followers are fans of Supernatural and of Jared’s Always Keep Fighting movement, so I thought it would bring everyone together to raise money for a worthy cause in the name of someone and something that we all care deeply about.
Tell us about the journey getting here – smashing most of your goals, etc.
Oh man… I could write a book about this alone and the campaign isn’t even finished yet haha! I’ll try to be as concise as I can. For a while, a lot of people had been asking me if I was ever going to run a charity campaign myself. I think it’s because the Supernatural actors and fans are known for hosting their own charitable fundraisers, whether that be through merch sales or their own GoFundMe/crowdfunding projects. I wanted to do this, but I was intimidated. My greatest fear was getting it wrong, so I did some research before I launched the page. I read more about TWLOHA and their mission, and looked at a few various platforms for hosting the campaign. Ultimately, once I had figured everything out and had set up the GoFundMe page, I launched my fundraiser a few days before Christmas. I figured this would be a good time because none of the other Supernatural actors were running campaigns at the time, and I didn’t want to overwhelm people with too many charity fundraisers at once.
Immediately after I posted the campaign page, people started donating and sharing it like crazy. I was so blown away by the response that I immediately set to work on thanking people for supporting TWLOHA as much as possible. I knew that I couldn’t provide people with merchandise for donating to the fundraiser (like the Stands campaigns and the original AKF campaigns), so the best I could do was shout donors out on social media, write them thank you notes, and run giveaways. I also started compiling a book of letters and photos for Jared from donors. This idea came to me before I ever set the fundraiser page to go live. I knew that a lot of people who contributed probably wouldn’t be able to go to a Supernatural convention, so I wanted to get their words to Jared if I could. The journal idea set the end date for the campaign: Supernatural Seattle, my first convention of 2018, when I would close the Gofundme page and give Jared the notebook full of people’s letters of love and support. Now, I spend my evenings writing out people’s letters for Jared until my hand cramps. The stories that everyone has shared have been so touching, and I’m grateful to be able to give back to them in whatever small way I can - even if it’s just delivering a letter.
The original fundraiser goal was $500. We smashed through $1,000 within the first two days. I upped the goal incrementally by $500 until we hit $5,000 at which point I said “screw it” and set it to $10,000. This would be the final goal, and if we went over it, it just meant more support for TWLOHA.
In addition to monetary support, people have also been doing their own extra things to help the fundraiser. A wonderful woman named Lauren (who I met at Supernatural D.C. last year) donated a rare Always Keep Fighting pin from Jared himself to give away to a donor at random. Elizabeth over at Little Pop Workshop created a custom Always Keep Fighting Jared Pop for me to include in the box of Supernatural merchandise I’m putting together for a giveaway. A super sweet girl named Amanda started making bracelets and collecting donations for the fundraiser through the sales of her handcrafted work. Shelley over at Con*Quest Journals ran some sponsored posts about the fundraiser on Instagram and Facebook for a few weeks. And on top of all this, TWLOHA themselves recently noticed the campaign (I hadn’t tagged them or Jared in any of the campaign posts so I didn’t expect them to see it, but they did) and contributed some merchandise for me to give away to some donors at random as well.
What can you tell us about yourself?
I’m very creative. I always need to be working or making something because if I’m not, I’ll literally go crazy. My favorite method of expression is, obviously, making videos. I post content on my YouTube channel every other day (unless I’m busy with college, then I miss an upload day here or there). I love to talk about books, movies, and my favorite TV shows, so my YouTube channel is just full of fandomish content. I do weekly reaction videos to new Supernatural episodes, and apart from my normal videos where I’m sitting and talking to a camera, I also make convention vlogs, short fandom-themed documentaries, interview/collab videos with other creators, short films, cooking videos and more! I really make a bit of everything, but all of my content involves fandoms in some way.
In terms of my non-YouTube life, I attend college in Chicago for film with a minor in social media and digital strategies. When I’m home in Ohio, I work at an independent bookstore where I’ve been an employee for over three years. I also love chocolate. And cats.
Why do you think the #SPNfamily is so generous?
I honestly think it’s because the Supernatural Family is made up of genuine, caring, and kind people. The passion this fandom brings to charity campaigns that are important to them is absolutely amazing. We are literally a force to be reckoned with. And I think we also have to give a huge amount of credit to the actors themselves. They kind of spearhead all of this, especially with the amount of charity campaigns they host for worthy causes. I think they inspire fans like me to go out and try to do some good in the world themselves.
How can people donate?
People can donate to the fundraiser by visiting: https://www.gofundme.com/akf-spnsea-2018 The page has more information about the campaign and also lists all of the giveaways going on at the moment.
After March 21 (when the campaign is over), however, I would still encourage people to support TWLOHA whenever they can. You can donate at any time by visiting their website: https://twloha.com/donate/
Tell us about your charity – what it is, how it started, who started it … ?
My name is Victoria and Castiel’s Angels started a few years ago and the way it started is a pretty weird story. It started off with video editing as strange as that sounds. I enter the video editing contest every year at the Rio but video editing for me is my passion. One year I missed the contest and I was pretty upset about it. Someone I guess reached out to Misha and told him I was upset & then the next thing I know I receive a 5 second video saying he can’t wait to see me at the con. These years ago I was a fangirl and got so excited that I forgot about missing the contest in the first place. I arrive at the convention to pick up my tickets and then I was given an extra one that happened to be Misha Collins. I didn’t know what to think except say thank you and continue on my way. I was advised to wait for his Castiel op until the crowds died down and so I did and sat on a bench waiting… When it was my turn I got my photo and Misha gave me a hug and I said I didn’t know how this happened but I was thankful for it. Before I left Misha I asked him if there was anything I could do to help charity and what could be done? I told him I was passionate about helping and making a difference. He kind of paused and smiled and told me that I could either make a group, host fundraisers, spread acts of kindness etc… So I thought to myself? Why not do all three right?! I got to my car and sat down in my little silver car at the time and thought about everything. Since Misha was the one who did all of this and truly made my con I decided to name it after his character Castiel and that is where the Castiel’s comes from in our name. The last part Angels… came from just wanting to help others and be an Angel to someone who needs an Angel in their life. We were born! Fast forward a year later and I go to the con and tell Misha our progress because at this time we raised a few thousand dollars and had Angels in so many states across the USA that it had slowly turned into a movement. Misha was shocked … and told me to hold on a second….When he came back that was when I was able to meet Ruth and Rob and then I started helping their charities. Move forward a bit more and then the rest of the cast had us helping them as well! And it turned into something I could never imagine it to turn into. Now we have Angels in Germany,USA, and more!
What – or who – was the inspiration?
Just wanting to help people and as for our inspiration? I guess that is where Misha comes in again. We really wanted to show people that you can make a difference! No matter how big or small you may be. One of the ways people can help us is by crafting Supernatural items. What we do is we sell these items at events for the charities and that is how we raise for most of the causes. We also do other things as well like spreading acts of kindness and try to make an example by doing some good in the world. If you want to be a leader in your state or internationally message us! Being a Leader means you basically run your Angel team in your state and you can do fundraisers, make crafts, etc…. OR if your state already has a Leader then you join their team to help out.
What kind of events have you held/money have you raised?
Our Utah team ran by MaryJane and her Co Leader Sabrina raised over $1,000 at SLCC comic con. And they have done this convention multiple times!
Why do you think the #SPNfamily is such a giving one?
I think it is because of the meaning of Family that Supernatural represents. We all want to help people and really be there for one another. It is a genuine love that pulls us together. AKF also plays a big factor in this and that is because of how many people struggle with depression.. When so many struggle with such a serious issue we kind of turn into a huge support group for one another and THAT is AMAZING! We are just caring people that connect over our love for Supernatural and the cast.
Do you have any upcoming events? We do!
We have an event on the 17th in Las Vegas! So if you want to come to that event in Vegas message us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.