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The World Wishes Colin Happy Birthday

Colin will turn eleven years old on March 9. On February 2, his mother Jennifer created a Facebook page and told us a little about Colin.

I am Colin's mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn't a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office. So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day.

Since then, the page has gone viral, both on and off the internet. The Facebook page has received 1.9 million likes, and the initial post has over 187,000 comments -and the other posts each have thousands of comments and shares. Due to popular demand, Jennifer rented a post office box to receive cards and letters from Colin’s fans. The address is:
Colin-
PO Box 756
Richland, MI 49083-0756
USA  

As you can see, a lot of people have taken the snail mail approach! Colin’s parents have shielded him from the Facebook project and the resulting publicity as best they can so far, so the page and the correspondence will be a birthday surprise for him. But he is excited about turning eleven. This video was recorded this past weekend.

The responses are coming in in the form of cards and letters at the post office box and online, from comments and Facebook messages, from news reports all over the world, and from Facebook users who sent pictures and videos created especially for Colin.

The Rosenberg Police Department of Rosenberg, Texas, made a video greeting for Colin. Photograph from the Rosenberg Police Department.

The sorority Alpha Xi Delta at Indiana University made a video to wish Colin a happy birthday.

Luselys Lugardo sent video greetings along with her Army compatriots.

Colin says that when he grows up, he wants to be either a pastor, a comedian, or a missionary. Comedian John Heffron votes for comedian. Heffron sent not only his best wishes in a video, but involved a bunch of his friends, too. He’s a real standup guy!

Jennifer was quite surprised to see Colin’s story in Arabic in a news story from Jordan. But Colin’s story has also made headlines in Russia, England, Mexico, Japan, Finland, India, Norway, Czech Republic, Portugal, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Poland, Austria, France, Netherlands, Brazil, Switzerland, Australia, Uruguay, Israel, Sweden, Indonesia, Serbia, Denmark, Pakistan, Faroe Islands, Bosnia, Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, Paraguay, Ireland, Turkey, Canada (Quebec), Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, and Lithuania. But those are just the links posted at the Facebook page, and there are many other nations represented in the comments that people have left.

From Rachael Spiess.

From Bianca Romeiro.

From Baran Ketabi.

From Jinger Brinkley.

From Emilie Chauvin Giroire

So many people cannot wait to see Colin’s reaction when he finds out about all the good wishes from people all over the world. But Colin isn’t the only one benefitting from the project. Jennifer writes:

I am overwhelmed and overjoyed but all the love, support and birthday wishes coming from all over the world for my little man. I can't thank you all enough for everything you've all done. My favorite part of this whole thing has been the messages from parents and teachers who have told me they used Colin's story to talk to their kids. And the kids are responding, and realizing that ostracizing someone is wrong, and that they can make a difference. I love that! We love you all, and we can't wait to share Colin's birthday with all of you!

You can follow the progress of Colin’s birthday surprise at Facebook.

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This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]

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holidays
The Plugin That Keeps the Internet From Spoiling Santa Claus
iStock
iStock

During simpler times, the biggest threat to a child's belief in Santa was usually older siblings or big-mouthed classmates. Today, kids have access to an entire world wide web, full of potentially Santa-spoiling content. Luckily, there's a plugin that helps parents maintain their kids’ innocence through the holidays.

Created by the virtual private network provider Hide My Ass (HMA), the free software analyzes web activity for any information that might threaten to “bring a child’s belief in Santa crashing down.” In place of the problematic content, the plugin brings up an image of the jolly man himself. Typing the phrase “Santa is not real” into Google, for example, will instead take you to a web page showing nothing but a soft-focused St. Nick pointing into the camera and staring at you with judgmental eyes. The plugin is also designed to work for social media communications, internet ads, and articles like this one.


Hide My Ass

According to a survey of 2036 parents by HMA, one in eight children in the U.S. have their belief in Santa ruined online. Whether it's because of the internet or other related factors, the age that children stop believing in Santa is lower than ever.

The average age that current parents lost their faith in Santa Claus was 8.7 years old, and for today’s kids it’s 7.25 years. Concerned parents can download the plugin for Chrome here, though it may not be enough to hide every type of Santa spoiler: Of the parents who blamed the internet, 26 percent of them reported kids snooping over their shoulder as they shopped for gifts online.

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