If you’ve ever spent time on one of those feel-good Facebook pages that highlight the struggles of everyday humans, you’ve probably felt the occasional urge to reach into your pocketbook and help somebody out. It’s a natural reaction to some of the heartbreaking stories of adversity, injustice, and just plain bad luck that make their way into our social feeds, but sometimes these knee-jerk outpourings of goodwill miss the real point – which is that these stories are often just one of millions more like them.
Unsurprisingly, this was exactly the case after the Los Angeles Times published their powerful documentary profile of Guatemalan immigrant Gaspar Marcos. In a matter of days, the eight-minute short film racked up millions of views and countless individuals were moved to offer money and support for the orphaned high school student. In response, Gaspar’s mentor Federico Bustamante set up a GoFundMe page to channel that outpouring of sympathy into dollars and cents, and help the hard-working teen catch a break in his pursuit of the American dream.
It only makes sense that someone fighting so hard for a brighter future get a leg up now and then, but Gaspar himself was quick to remind his supporters that the struggle of unaccompanied minors in this country is much bigger than one person. And to show just how sincere he is, Gaspar used his platform to recruit support for Casa Libre, the non-profit youth shelter that helped him in his time of greatest need.
In a short video launched as part of the GoFundMe page, Gaspar made a call for lawyers to lend their knowledge and expertise to the numerous pending immigration cases at Casa Libre, and promised to donate half of his GoFundMe earnings to other undocumented youth. With over $20,000 collected so far, that’s a pretty penny – but it’s just a drop in the bucket for the thousands of young men and women like Gaspar who are struggling silently for a better future. Whether or not the campaign reaches its $100,000 goal, we can be sure that Gaspar Marcos won’t stop raising his voice for others like him.