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Community Service Through The Internet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Ever since the Internet has come about, we have repeatedly heard of its dangers and negative aspects, such as pornography and unconventional chat rooms. We are led to believe that no one has ever accomplished anything positive from this world wide link except for research. The good news about the Internet is that some people have actually taken advantage of it to not only benefit themselves, but to benefit others.

In February, my mother posted a message in a newsgroup on the Internet. This particular newsgroup is accessed by Disney fans. The message was a request asking for any Mickey Mouse hotel soaps, shampoos or other toiletries that people could spare, to be donated to the leukemia patients at Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. My friend's nine-year-old sister, Emily, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and has spent many weeks in a hospital bed. In a big city hospital you find many children who not only never receive a card or a balloon, but also have an empty chair beside their bed. My mother hoped she could cheer up some of these children by having a gift waiting for them when they arrived at their hospital room.

Within a day of posting her request, my mother got e-mail saying that soap (and more) was on the way. Many people commended her for her generous deed. Sure enough, a box of Mickey soaps, shampoo, conditioner, hand cream and even an assortment of Disney pins arrived. Within one week, she already received 13 shampoos, six jars of hand cream, four shower caps, 32 bars of soap and 22 character pins. We were surprised and excited with the response, generosity, and trust of people on-line.

My mother, Emily and her mother then wrapped up a combination of toiletries, a Mickey marker, stickers and a pin in a bag, tying it with ribbon. They brought twenty-five bags onto the ward and reported that the children went wild, especially one little two-year-old who fell in love with his new Winnie the Pooh pin.

In any large community, whether in cyberspace or your own hometown, there are decent people. It's important to see that the Internet, a far-reaching network connecting millions, can have a positive impact. Technology allows us to reach so many people that the possibilities of bringing these people closer together are endless. u


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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