Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Teen Filmmaker Wins $10,000 for Championing Compassion at ‘Kindness Is Cool’ Event

Alina Wang
A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights, politics, tech, and society.
Published: March 11, 2024
Hosted by Gan Jing World in Times Square on March 8, 2024, the ceremony was part of a global competition that showcased more than 10,000 acts of kindness through digital media. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

NEW YORK, New York — In an inspiring display of creativity and compassion, 14-year-old Samuel Coggin clinched the top prize of $10,000 at the “Kindness Is Cool” awards ceremony on March 8.

Hosted by Gan Jing World in Times Square, Coggin’s entry was part of a global competition that showcased more than 10,000 acts of kindness. Based in New York, Gan Jing world is a growing digital platform created with the intent to promote wholesome and traditional content free from violent, pornographic, and harmful material. 

The platform also aims to foster a family-friendly online environment that encourages positive social interactions and strengthens community bonds. Joining numerous participants from across the planet, Coggin contributed to a movement that celebrates kindness and compassion through digital media.

His project, which focused on the “Adaptive Training Foundation,” (an initiative spearheaded by former NFL player David Vobora), aimed at empowering amputees through fitness and community support. 

14-year-old Samuel Coggin (center) clinched the top prize of $10,000 at the “Kindness Is Cool” awards ceremony in Times Square on March 8, 2024. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

MORE ON THIS: Celebrating Kindness: Meet the Winners of Gan Jing World’s ‘Kindness Is Cool Video Awards’

Vobora’s work with veterans and first responders — where he provides free training and housing — is a powerful narrative of how kindness can transform lives. “As you do deal hope, as you do deal kindness…the energy that comes out, that attraction, actually brings back more into your life,” Vobora says in the video. His belief that “compassion is never convenient” and that overcoming a “victim mentality” is key to personal growth stood out among this year’s submissions. 

‘We need to spread kindness’

Coggin’s commitment to amplifying voices and spreading stories of compassion also shined through as he shared with reporters what he plans to do with the prize money. 

“I decided to enter this competition because I believe we need to spread more kindness throughout the world because there isn’t enough kindness already,” said Coggin, adding that he plans to establish a film company dedicated to sharing stories of the elderly. 

“I’m launching a business called ‘Lexi Media’ and I’m going to buy new camera equipment like lightning and lenses to make interviews for elderly people,” he said as his family stood proudly beside him. 

“He [also] decided to give a portion of the money back to support the athletes, and I’m just proud of him,” Coggin’s father told reporters. 

‘A lost art’

During the ceremony, Leyana Stevenson from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs also praised the young filmmaker, noting, “Kindness is almost like a lost art.” 

“I think if we just have that in the forefront, and see an organization that is highlighting the kindness of other people and their work and their films, I think that makes a huge impact,” she added.

“The idea of Gan Jing World is to have a family-friendly, online social media platform,” said Nick Janicki, Media Director at Gan Jing World, as he emphasized the platform’s ethos. “Through events like ‘Kindness Is Cool’, we hope to inspire positive community engagement, mutual respect, care, kindness, and to foster tighter family and social bonds,” he added.

Hosted by Gan Jing World in Times Square on March 8, 2024, the ceremony was part of a global competition that showcased more than 10,000 acts of kindness through digital media. (Image: Vision Times Staff)

The success of the event is also underscored by the diversity of its participants and the universal message of goodwill shared by winners and participants alike. From leading film studios like New Century Films to talented students from Boston’s Star Academy for the Gifted and Talented, each contributor added a special touch to the vibrant tapestry of kindness.

Statements from students, such as “Suffering is an illness… and the medicine for it is kindness,” also highlight the deep understanding and reflection prompted by the event.

In an age dominated by digital media, the “Kindness Is Cool” video awards stand as a testament to the enduring power of spreading kindness and positivity. It also reminds us how simple acts of compassion can bridge divides, transform lives — and indeed — make kindness not just cool, but transformative.

The complete list of winners of Gan Jing World’s “Kindness Is Cool Video Awards” is as follows:

  1. The Kindness Is Cool Creativity Award ($10,000):
  • Breaking Barriers — David Vobora’s inspiring journey with the “Adaptive Training Foundation” showcases the transformative power of kindness and emphasizes how giving back enriches one’s own life as much as it does for those on the receiving end.
  1. The Kindness Together Group Award ($5,000):
  • New Century Films — An organization that has published over 30 high-quality short films — highlighting various acts of kindness, compassion, and human rights’ awareness — proving that the goodness we share with the world often finds its way back to us.
  1. The Kindness Appreciation Awards ($1,000 each):
  • THE BILL — A wordless short film that captures a moment of unexpected kindness in a restaurant, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.
  • My Teacher — Presented by Clearview School of Art and Culture, this film underscores the impact of a teacher’s kindness on a new student, inspiring the entire class and viewers alike.
  • Life is a journey where kindness is given — This entry follows a group of young individuals as they deliver aid to children in Vietnam’s Hà Giang Province, embodying the spirit of kindness as a life-long journey.
  • Grandfather’s Story — An ink and wash animation that tells a heartwarming tale of a grandfather and grandson building a pavilion for their village, highlighting the enduring nature of perseverance and compassion.
  • KINDNESS IS COOL — Featuring nine-year-old Big Lotus 415, this original song promotes the message that kindness is essential in today’s world.
  1. The Kindness Smiles Award ($500 each):
  • Kindness Essays — Young students at the Star Academy for the Gifted and Talented share their personal reflections on kindness.
  • “Kindness is cool” at IMT Liege, Belgium — A collective message from the students at Institut Marie-Thérèse, celebrating kindness and mutual respect within their school and how these positive messages can spread throughout communities as well.
  • Sharing Joy and Happiness With Children — The Chandra Kumala School in Indonesia creates a memorable day for children from a local orphanage, filled with games, gifts, and laughter.
  • Art — A moving short film about a classroom coming together to share art supplies with a student in need.
  • KINDNESS IS COOL | SASTRANI — An adaptation of an Indonesian poem, this song performed with piano and flute accompaniment, shares the vision of a kinder world through shared values of compassion and patience. 
  • What the Older Brother Said — A candid video capturing a meaningful conversation between siblings about kindness and understanding following a disagreement.
  • Kindness Is Cool in Little Lotus Academy — Young students from the Little Lotus Academy in New York express their thoughts on kindness and positivity.
  • Kindness At Birth — A story illustrating the healing power of a small act of kindness between students, reminding us of the profound impact kindness can have on the heart.
  • Silent Train — A silent film capturing a moment of unexpected kindness on a train, showcasing the beauty that comes with lending a helping hand to a stranger. 
  • Innocent Beauty — A heartwarming short featuring smiling children, reminding viewers of the pure joy and simplicity found in acts of kindness.