Karen Klein is a 69-year-old former bus monitor who struck mini-fame after a video of a pack of middle school boys lobbing insults at her on a bus went viral last June.
Like many who viewed the video and felt anger toward the bullies and extreme sympathy for Karen, Reddit user Max Sidorov couldn’t watch the horrific event and stand idly by. So, out of the goodness of his heart he started a campaign on the website indiegogo to raise money so Karen could take a vacation.
The initial goal was to raise $5,000, but within days of the campaign’s commencement the effort had brought in nearly $400,000. Needless to say, the goal quickly went from “send Karen on vacation” to “help Karen retire.”
To date, the campaign has raised $703,873, which Karen says has changed her life forever and not only enabled her to go on vacation, but also retire and take care of her family.
Despite the public attention and large sums of money shuffled in Karen’s direction, she hasn’t let the newfound fame go to her head, nor has she felt compelled to “sit” on the money and coast the rest of her life. Instead, she’s using her new “status” as a platform for good.
After donations poured in from more than 32,000 people in 80 countries, Karen was inspired by their acts of kindness to pay it forward herself. Because she experienced first-hand how hurtful bullying can be, Karen took $100,000 of the money raised to start a foundation: The Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation, where she hopes to create a “gathering point for millions of people to support the anti-bullying movement” and “change the world.”
According to the foundation’s website, any money raised will go toward providing “funds for anti-bullying counseling in schools across the country and around the world; create an educational curriculum that will teach about bullying and what each of us can do to stop it; support other organizations that are bringing awareness to the anti-bullying movement; and develop new media assets that will serve the cause of anti-bullying.”
One of the first efforts on behalf of the foundation is the No Bully Tour 2012 – a music tour slated to raise awareness about bullying and how we can reverse the trend that’s devastated so many.
In the end, Karen’s message is this: “Be good to people.” That’s a movement we can all rally behind. If we can help Karen achieve her goal of teaching kids and teens about being kind, friendly and playing nicely with others, our schools and our world will no doubt be a better place. Visit GiveBack.org to make a donation to the cause and to learn more about Karen and her anti-bullying campaign.
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