When most of his peers were saving their money for clothes or gas, 16-year-old Sacramento resident Alex Darrow was pouring his into a philanthropic website called PictureTheWorld.
Darrow spent $1,400 on the site, which has two goals: creating the world's largest photo mosaic and raising money for needy children. Site visitors must donate at least $5 to make their picture part of the mosaic; the funds raised will be donated to organizations like Doctors Without Borders and the Benioff Children's Hospital at the University of California-San Francisco.
In order to break the current photo mosaic world record, Darrow is hoping to solicit pictures from at least 112,896 people, the Sacramento Bee reports.
When he was getting PictureTheWorld off the ground, Darrow wasn't afraid to ask for help. He received free public relations services from Hudes Communication International, a Toronto-based PR firm, and he got advice on running a nonprofit from an organization called Cultural Media Services.
His goal is simply to make children's lives better. "Kids don't deserve to suffer from diseases and illnesses," Darrow told the Bee. "I want to make their lives easier in any way I can."