Things That Matter

At 9-Years-Old, His Story Gave Us All The Feels. At 14, His Story Is Inspiring AF

At the age of 9, Caine Monroy did what most kids wish they could do: he created his very own arcade.

Nirvan Mullick / YOUTUBE

Unlike most arcades, however, Monroy’s didn’t run on the latest technology.

Dubbed “Caine’s Arcade,” the arcade was powered by imagination and a whole lot of cardboard.

Nirvan Mullick / YOUTUBE

The arcade was built in his dad’s auto shop in Boyle Heights, in East Los Angeles, where Caine would attempt to get customers to play any number of his homebrew games. However, Caine didn’t have much luck getting people to take him up on his offer… at first.

Thanks to Caine’s father George and filmmaker Nirvan Mullick…

Nirvan Mullick / YOUTUBE

Nirvan was the first customer to ever play games at “Caine’s Arcade.”

… the two turned the overlooked arcade into one of the hottest spots in Los Angeles.

@cainesarcade / Facebook

Caine’s father George and Nirvan created a Facebook page, which gathered more than 130,000 followers, inviting people to meet at “Caine’s Arcade” on October 6th. Video of the Caine’s arrival as he was greeted by the flash mob went viral.

Caine later called it the “best day of my life.”

Nirvan Mullick / YOUTUBE

At 9 years old, the best day of my life was the time I ate an entire medium pizza by myself.

“Caine’s Arcade” inspired kids from all over to build their own arcade games, and it eventually led to the creation of the “Imagination Foundation.”

Imagination Fdn / YouTube

According to the website, the purpose of the Imagination Foundation is to “find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world to raise a new generation of innovators and problem solvers who have the tools they need to build the world they imagine.” To date, 130 schools have partnered with the Imagination Foundation.

It also inspired Nirvan to create a scholarship fund for Caine, which pulled in an amazing $152,000 in donations.

Imagination Fdn / YouTube

Though Caine retired from his arcade responsibilities at the age of 11, he continued receiving donations, bringing his total scholarship fund to around $240,000.

Five years later, Caine Monroy plans on pursuing a degree in engineering.


So while the world obliterates most of our dreams, turning us from the sweet innocent children and into weary adults, Caine has only thrived since creating the arcade of imagination and cardboard in his dad’s auto shop. As Nirvan Mullick told NBC, “[Caine’s] become this articulate young man who continues to inspire kids around the world.”

Now 14 years old, Monroy, is a little camera shy.

Caine and I rehearsing for our keynote talk at the PTTOW! conference. Check out this giant screen!

This conference was absolutely epic. More to share soon… Caine’s Arcade Imagination Foundation

Posted by Nirvan on Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nirvan Mullick / Facebook

Watch the original, inspiring video about how “Caine’s Arcade” became a viral sensation.

NIRVAN MULLICK / YOUTUBE

And check out Caine’s latest interview with NBC Los Angeles here.

(More: NBC Los Angeles)

READ: She Shared A Photo Recreating Her Mother’s Graduation Photo But So Many People Are Obsessed With The Family’s Beauty

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Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Fierce

Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

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mitúCares: Babes Of Wellness Wins Grant To Help Domestic Violence Survivors Heal Mentally And Physically

Things That Matter

mitúCares: Babes Of Wellness Wins Grant To Help Domestic Violence Survivors Heal Mentally And Physically

As our community works to beat and recover from the Covid pandemic, mitúCares wants to help those helping our community in this time. We asked all of you to nominate people who were making our community better with their work and you delivered. mitú is proud to announce that Babes in Wellness is one of two winners for the mitúCares grant program.

Babes of Wellness is more than a fitness business.

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A post shared by Babes Of Wellness (@babesofwellness)

Founder Kat Novoa started Babes of Wellness with a vision to help people achieve wellness as well as physical fitness. Novoa started Babes of Wellness in South LA as an extension of her work as a domestic violence advocacy.

“I became a domestic violence advocate back in 2016 and in volunteering in these shelters and providing complimentary fitness classes for the survivors of violence that were at these shelters, I realized that fitness wasn’t enough for them. Once I introduced them to mindfulness practices like meditation, journaling, just affirmations, I really noticed a change in them and a shift in their mindset.”

Novoa noticed that the fitness industry was not a place that allowed for the mindful healing that can happen while engaged in physical fitness. The male-dominated industry wasn’t built to help with that kind of work.

“Women have been stigmatized for so long and sexualized because of our bodies,” Novoa says. “There’s not really an emphasis, especially in a male-dominated industry like the fitness industry, to take care of and tend to our emotional needs, our spiritual needs all in one place.”

The fitness professional wanted to make sure she helped the community that made her.

Novoa grew up in South LA and there was nothing the community like Babes of Wellness. She saw this as an opportunity to bring something to her community that will help people heal and grow, especially after 2020.

The pandemic has devastated low-income communities and communities of color. Our community has experienced the disproportionate impact of Covid with mounting deaths and financial losses. Unemployment surged and hospitals filled with our loved ones leaving a lot of damage and trauma from which we still need to collectively heal.

“Me, myself, I recently lost my dad due to Covid and I think that for me now that my business and the mission has really changed in the last few months for me,” Novoa recalls. “Now, more than ever, I feel even more passionate about helping our community and really teaching them these principles where they haven’t been taught. They’ve never had access or resources to someone who looks like them that cares about them and knows their struggles.”

Novoa plans to use the same skills and tools she uses to help survivors of domestic violence to find peace to help others heal. The boutique fitness studio is a place where people can find peace while working up a sweat.

Knowing that her work is helping people is the most important part of her day.

Novoa is moved by every client that tells her how much they get out of the work they do with her. Her plan is to make sure that everyone can get to their goals while enjoying the work.

“There was a girl that followed me on Instagram for a really really long time. Years. Prior to me going into this industry though mutual friends,” Novoa recalls. “She saw my journey and she thought 1) she looks like me 2) she’s female in a male-dominated industry 3) she’s Latina 4) she works with survivors of violence. She was a survivor of violence herself. She was overweight and she was really really insecure and she never thought that in her life she could look and feel and be the way that she is.”

Two years later and Novoa is still working with the client.

Congratulations, Kat!

READ: Domestic Violence Victims Have Been Using Code Words At Pharmacies To Escape Abusers During Lockdowns

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