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Celebrities Doing Good

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” — Mother Teresa

I love to see good things happen.

In a day and age when it seems that negativity permeates news and social media, it’s nice to see celebrities, and really anybody else, using their platform to change the world for the better. And over the past year I’ve seen some people do some pretty awesome things.

Just this past week, Drake gave away nearly $1 million in conjunction with his video for “God’s Plan”. In the video, Drake walks around Miami giving away cash to single moms, families, and organizations. He even buys a new car for a young man and gives $50,000 to a young woman for her college education. Despite the video’s occasionally crude language, Drake was trying to make a real difference in people’s lives. And I think he succeeded.

But Drake’s not the only celeb trying to make the world a slightly better place. Emma Watson has donated more than $1.4 million to fight sexual harassment. Instagram star, Juanpa Zurita and other YouTube celebrities have raised $1 million in less than 20 hours for those suffering from the famine in Somalia. “This is the story of what can happen when the power of social media is leveraged for something good,” said Casey Neistat, one of the YouTube celebrities involved. It’s true. We can, and have, said plenty about the negative effects of social media, but there’s also so much that can be used for good.

Take Matt Nathanson who, in his video for “Headphones”, hopped on a flight to Peru to team up with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and distribute thousands of hearing aids for free. Little children, adults and people of all ages stand outside in lines that wrap around the block just to get the chance to hear clearly once again. At the end of the video it reads: “100% of artist and label proceedings from this video are being donated to Starkey Hearing Foundation.”

Tom Holland visited the Children’s Hospital in Los Angles as Spider-Man to bring some much needed smiles to the faces of exhausted and anxious families. Chance the Rapper donated $1 million to Chicago Public Schools.  An article from CNN said that it was only the beginning: For every $100,000 raised for the schools, Chance’s SocialWorks nonprofit would chip in another $10,000.

None of these celebrities are perfect, of course. Some have made problematic music or starred in less-than-stellar movies. But let’s give credit where it’s due, and I get tears in my eyes when I hear about all of the people who are working to bring change to this world . Because that’s the idea, isn’t it? We all want a better life, a better future and a better world. And it all starts with that one person.

We can be that one person. Don’t be scared to step out and love the people within your reach. A Starbucks gift card here, home cooked dinner there, and maybe, slowly, we’ll all begin to be true to the Great Commission of loving our neighbors just as we love ourselves.