Supporter Spotlight: How atheenabean Became a HOPE Ambassador
Atheena Wagner started streaming to prove her brother wrong. Now she’s using her platform to change lives around the world as a Project HOPE Ambassador. Learn more in this Q&A.
Gamers have raised nearly $2 million for Project HOPE’s mission to transform the health and well-being of people around the world. How? By using their streams as inclusive, hopeful communities that join together to change lives.
Atheena Wagner, or atheenabean on Twitch, is one of those fundraisers. Read on to learn more about how she got her start charity streaming, what the word hope means to her, and what she could tell herself if she could go back to the start of her Twitch journey.
Want to stream for Project HOPE? Learn more about Gamers <3 HOPE to use your platform to change lives around the world.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get started streaming?
That’s a funny story, actually. It started because my younger brother never thought I’d be able to do it, so naturally I wanted to prove him wrong. One day at a time it evolved into something I loved, and when I realized I could make a career out of it I went all in. The day I’m not having fun anymore is the day that I know I need to step away. It really has turned into something that I look forward to when I wake up every day.
Outside of stream you can catch me in a quiet corner with a candle lit and a book in my hand decompressing from the shenanigans that happen online.
Why did you want to start charity streaming?
I have always had the mindset that somewhere out there someone has it worse than me. I started charity streaming so I could do something to help them. It didn’t matter where they lived, or who they were; I knew that I wanted to make a difference even if my name wasn’t attached to it. Twitch as a platform can do SO much good when folks come together. What better way to raise money than through gaming?
What part of Project HOPE’s mission inspires you the most?
The fact that Project HOPE wants to help with world events and natural disasters immediately is huge. Most charities pick a “thing” and stick to it, which is still absolutely amazing and still helps people, but I think that sets Project HOPE apart. Whenever anything major is happening in the world, we can always look to Project HOPE for help, and I think that in itself is really inspiring.
What is your favorite fundraising moment with Project HOPE?
I think one of my favorite moments fundraising with Project HOPE was during Hopemas when Project HOPE was close to hitting $30,000. I pulled up the overall goal on the stream and our community helped absolutely SMASH that $30,000 goal in a matter of minutes. It was so humbling to witness everyone want the same thing at the same time.
My absolute favorite thing about this online community and Twitch as a platform is the way folks come together when it’s for things that matter. We are such a strong force when we do things as one, and we are able to do that with charity streaming. We come together and change people’s lives. It is such a humbling experience.
Why did you choose to become a Project HOPE Ambassador?
I chose to become a Project HOPE Ambassador because I think as humans in general we need to stick together. There has been so much “bad” going on in the world recently and I want to help in any way I can, even if it’s just a little. From the very first day I fundraised for Project HOPE I knew that this was an organization I wanted to help spread the word about. The more folks who know about Project HOPE, the more likely it is for us to help in bigger ways.
What does the word hope mean to you?
Hope has so many meanings. To me it is such a powerful word because it stands for so much. It is the light at the end of the tunnel when you feel like nothing else is shining. It’s the single piece of green grass when the rest of your yard is dull and yellow. It’s a drop of rain when you’ve been living through a drought. Hope is a helping hand when you want to give up. As long as we have hope, we have a reason to keep moving forward.
If you could go back to when you first started streaming and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?
There are SO many things I wish I could tell myself when I first started streaming, but if I had to narrow it down it would be: Just do the thing. Do the wacky cosplay you’re thinking about doing. Do the charity stream that you’re scared of “not raising enough” for. Make those incentives you’re thinking about happen. There were so many things I was scared of when I first started streaming and I realize now that it’s OK to be nervous and scared. It’s OK to make mistakes because as a creator that is how we learn. I didn’t know that then, but I do now, and I am a better streamer because of it.
What would your message be to anyone who is interested in streaming but doesn’t know if they can or should do it?
Jump into it feet first. You’ll never know if you love to do something until you try. Things can be scary and difficult. There may even be times where you feel like you want to give up. But you’ll never know unless you try.
What are your goals for 2023?
My goals for 2023 consist of one thing: do good. I always want to make sure that I am paying it forward in any way, shape, or form. I have been lucky enough to be presented with a platform, and I want to use it to help others when I can. I would like to give a huge thank you to Project HOPE for allowing me to be part of something that is so special. Thank you for bringing me on the team and letting me use my platform to support and represent your mission.
Atheena Wagner streams on Twitch as atheenabean and is on Twitter @atheenabean.
How you can help
Make a lifesaving gift to support our work now and for the future at projecthope.org/donate
Are you a health-care or other professional who would like to learn more about volunteering abroad with Project HOPE? Learn more about our volunteer program and join our volunteer roster.
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