The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Providing Advocacy and Giving Access


July 21, 2021

Launched in 2010, GoFundMe is the world’s largest social fundraising platform and considered a leader in online fundraising. So, it’s no surprise that when two individuals were seeking to help a local homeless girl, they created a GoFundMe page.

Mary Ellen Earnhardt, a Career Lab Supervisor with the Department of Labor, and Matthew Hodgson, a Harlem High School English Educator, are the organizers of this fundraiser.

According to information provided on her the GoFundMe page, Kiahna Cochran is a young Native American woman from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation who is “facing some of the most extreme challenges one could imagine for a seventeen-year-old.”

Designated a homeless reservation student by the Harlem School District, Cochran has lacks the basic support systems from family. Despite these circumstances, she achieved her high school diploma while holding a part time job to earn a small income to support herself.

“Her passion and drive unyielding, she was even able to secure funding to attend Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington,” Hodgson reported. “After deliberation among experienced educators, career counselors and community volunteers, a decision was made to do everything to support this young Native American woman in any way possible. Her combination of skills and talents, resiliency, and passion give her the attitudes and mindsets necessary to create a better future for herself and others,” he added.

Because the GoFundMe page was created with the intention of providing Cochran with reliable transportation, donations up to the goal amount of $11,000 will be used to purchase a quality, used vehicle. Any remaining funding would be made available for other supplies and necessities.

“Our youth are our future, and Kiahna is our hope and our future. If given the chance, she will make a difference in this world,” Earnhardt commented.

GoFundMe is an example of a crowdfunding resource. Crowdfunding harnesses the power of social networks and the internet to give people the means to raise funds, help others overcome hardship, and meet goals. The core principle behind crowdfunding is to break down any barriers between those in need and those available to help them. Such platforms provide a space where individuals, teams, organizations, and nonprofits can champion causes that matter to them and raise money to inspire change that can make a lasting difference.

People often turn to crowdfunding when they can’t afford the rapidly increasing costs of medical care or when they lack insurance to cover major medical procedures and have to pay excessive out-of-pocket expenses. Other common crowdfunding categories are emergencies, memorials, education, and nonprofits

On their website, GoFundMe states, “There’s a part of every one of us that dreams of a better world. That spark of inspiration to help a person, fix a neighborhood, or even change a nation. At GoFundMe, we empower both individuals and nonprofits to turn compassion into action. Because that is how change happens.”

Through GoFundMe, people can access the tools they need to share their cause as well as to harness the power of generosity.

Anyone interested in helping Cochran can go online to find her GoFundMe page: “I AM THE FUTURE: Helping Kiahna Go to College.”


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