In last week’s column I wrote about my how my nephew and his two year old son recently spent several hours together in their back yard creating a pirate ship out of a large cardboard box.  The intention of the column was to both remind us about the importance of creating time in our lives for play as well as to remind us that play does not have to involve expensive toys.  Sometimes amazing things can happen with just a few cardboard boxes.
One of the readers of this column wrote to me about another story that involved a child creating something amazing out of cardboard and I want to share this story with you this week.  The child in this story is a little bit older, in fact he will turn eleven this week.  His name is Caine Monroy and he is the founder of Caine’s Arcade, an arcade built entirely out of cardboard.
Two summers ago Caine found himself a bit bored sitting around his dad’s used auto part store located in the industrial part of East Los Angeles.  Caine’s dad, George Monroy, is a single parent and because it was summer and school was out he needed to bring Caine to work with him everyday.  One day while at his dad’s store, Caine helped pass the time by making an arcade game our of cardboard.  He continued to create other games and then when he felt he had enough to create an arcade he put a sign up saying that he was open for business.  Caine hoped that customers would purchase four plays for a dollar, or they could purchase a Fun Pass which allowed them five hundred plays for two dollars.  Caine bought special tickets that customers could win and then redeem for prizes.  The first prizes were some of Caine’s very own Hot Wheels cars.  Caine opened the arcade with great expectations.  The problem was months passed and nobody came to play!  Caine did not give up hope.
One day a man by the name of Nirvan Mullick came to the store to buy a replacement door handle for his car.  He saw Caine’s Arcade and stayed to play, not realizing that he was Caine’s one and only customer. He purchased a Fun Pass and played for quite a while, getting to know Caine in the process and became amazed by Caine’s creativity.   It turns out that Mullick is an independent film maker and because he was so impressed with Caine’s ingenuity and perseverance, he decided he wanted to help Caine out.

 
Through Facebook, Mullick organized hundreds of his friends to come to the Arcade one Sunday afternoon to surprise Caine.  He had arranged to have George, Caine’s dad, take Caine out for lunch and when they returned hundreds of people were there!  Everyone bought Fun Passes and Mullick filmed the events of the day.  He eventually created a short video telling the story of Caine’s Arcade.  Needless to say, Caine and his dad were thrilled.  You can view the short video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faIFNkdq96U.  It is well worth a few minutes of your time.  The video went viral and has now  been viewed over seven million times.  That would have been wonderful enough, but there is more to the story!
Mullick, along with Caine and his dad, used the international attention they were receiving to create the Imagination Foundation.  The purpose of the foundation is to inspire creativity and entrepreneurship in children all around the world.  Mullick, wanting to make sure that Caine would have a chance to go to college someday, also created a college scholarship fund hoped to raise $25,000.  Going beyond his wildest dreams, the contributions to that fund currently stand at $236,000.  In addition, Caine was recently the youngest speaker to ever address the USC Marshall School of Business,  he has met President Obama, and was also invited to be part of a TED talk by Chelsea Clinton.  Recently he returned from a speaking engagement at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France and had some thoughts about what he has learned through his amazing business experience.  All of this because an adult noticed a kid who had worked hard and wanted that child to feel successful!
Now that Caine has become somewhat of a celebrity many people are wondering what he has learned form the experience. When he was to offer some tips on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, he wrote this list called.

5 Lessons  for Entrepreneurs: What Did Caine Learn–In His Own Words

  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

Great advice from a soon to be eleven year old that applies, not just to vocational wellness, but to all dimensions of wellness.

Be nice.  Have fun.  Don’t give up.  You already have what you need.  Everything can be put to good use.  I guess that pretty much sums it up.
Thanks to our reader who let me know about this inspiring story.  Feel free to share it with others.

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