Paying it forward. It is a simple idea, the act of giving to someone without expecting recognition or reward. And I believe it’s particularly important as we live in a time where hatred and violence overwhelm our news. The Pay It Forward movement serves as a reminder that there are still good people in this world who should be celebrated. From this concept, I would like to introduce the newest segment on our blog, one that’s close and dear to my heart, which I have
cleverly titled: Nerd It Forward.
As Julie Andrews once said, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” For me personally, my life changing Nerd It Forward moment happened just over a year ago. An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign was launched by Zachary Levi and his company, The Nerd Machine, in March 2014 called #IWantMyNerdHQ. Its purpose? To raise money to cover operation costs for their annual offsite event that takes place in San Diego during the week of Comic Con: Nerd HQ. At HQ, participants get the chance to play unreleased video games, relax and hang out with friends, partake in an epic dance party, the list goes on. But two special things set this event apart from everything else: Conversations for a Cause and Smiles for Smiles. Fans get the rare opportunity to interact with their favourite celebrities through intimate panels and photo opportunities with every dollar that is made through ticket and photo sales donated to the charity, Operation Smile.
The campaign was gritty, ambitious and was met with substantial opposition. And although there were a number of people who questioned the integrity of the Nerd HQ organizers, there was also a small but passionate group of people, who went above and beyond to lend their support.
Early on, I had been quietly following the progress of the campaign. I was familiar with the event from videos of past panels uploaded on YouTube and was excited for my first HQ experience in person. I made my small contribution and didn’t think much of it until I began following the #IWantMyNerdHQ tag on Twitter.
The outpouring of love and kindness was something I had never truly experienced before. I witnessed strangers donating on behalf of others who could not afford to donate to the campaign. I found myself drawn to their unwavering support of Nerd HQ and what it stood for. It was all quite remarkable.
When the deadline passed and the campaign fell incredibly short of its million dollar goal, I was heartbroken. Was the campaign perfect? No. Zac even took personal responsibility of the outcome. Despite this setback, he and his team worked tirelessly and Nerd HQ 2014 opened its doors in July.
I was over the moon excited to meet the celebrities that I had admired for quite some time, but what I was even more excited for was being able to finally meet the faces behind the Twitter handles that I had connected with during the #IWantMyNerdHQ campaign.
I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful nerd family. Because without Nerd HQ, I would have never been led to Roni, to this blog. You would not be reading these very words on your screen. The kindness of strangers is a powerful gift. It can change someone’s life. It has definitely changed mine for the better.
Viva La Nerdolution!
‘Til next time,