This one will rate high on your "Aw, shucks" meter. Club Penguin, Disney's popular kid-centric virtual world, has kicked off its fifth annual Coins for Change program, inviting its young players to donate virtual coins for a real-life cause. If the number of coins reaches a certain amount, Club Penguin will donate $2 million to help other children, families and environmental causes.
The program will run December 15-27, and players will be able to vote -- with their coins -- as to how the contribution will be divided among several charities. Previous Coins for Change efforts have helped a million people in 40 countries by funding clean water programs, schools, libraries, health clinics and more.
"The Club Penguin community has already helped more than a million people all over the world through Coins for Change and I hope by doubling the donation, they can help even more," Disney Online Studios EVP and Club Penguin Co-founder Lane Merrifield says. "I am continuously amazed by the commitment and passion our players have for helping improve the lives of others."
And, of course, this is a fantastic way to turn game-playing, often considered a waste of time by the uninitiated, into a valuable lesson in global citizenship. And that, in turn, helps parents feel better about shelling out $5 to $8 for the virtual world's monthly membership fee (not that there's anything wrong with that). For more details on Coins for Change, check out clubpenguin.com.