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October 7, 2015

EXCLUSIVE! CW Stars Sophia Bush and Misha Collins Give Back

by Laura Prudom, posted Aug 31st 2010 10:45AM
Sophia BushEveryone loves an underdog -- and in terms of ratings, few can deny that The CW often seems like a scrappy featherweight trapped in the primetime ring with four heavy-hitters.

But when it comes to making a difference in the lives of fans and the public at large, (even those who are too impoverished to own a television), it seems as though the CW network might just be the undisputed heavyweight champion. (We're done with the boxing metaphors now, we promise.)

Whether it's raising money for the clean-up in the Gulf following BP's catastrophic oil spill, finding homes for abandoned dogs, aiding in the rebuilding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or helping orphans in Haiti, the passion and dedication of the CW's stars is tireless and undeniably inspiring.

Over the weekend, TV Squad caught up with Sophia Bush of 'One Tree Hill' and 'Supernatural' star Misha Collins to discuss their latest charitable projects and give advice to anyone who wants to help change the world, one random act of kindness at a time.

Having been environmentally conscious for a number of years, Bush and her on/off-screen boyfriend Austin Nichols are helping to raise awareness of the shocking situation that has decimated an entire ecosystem on the Gulf coast -- a situation that Bush insists has shown little sign of improvement, despite BP's reassurances that the water is safe to swim and fish in.

"In order to be non-harmful, when you test water at a beach it should test less than five parts per million for oil," Bush told us when we caught up with her via phone last week. "There are beaches in the Gulf right now that are testing as high as 229 parts per million. This is water that children are playing in, that families are swimming in. Young kids are building sandcastles on the beach, and they are sitting in water that is soaked not only with oil particles, but also with Corexit, a dispersant known to cause neurological damage and cancer -- we watched them pour it into the Gulf for over a hundred days, and nobody did anything about it."

Horrified by the morally and legally dubious activities they witnessed on their trip to the Gulf, Bush and Nichols began devoting their passion and time to raise money for Global Green, an organization that not only gives advice on how to make your life greener and cleaner, but also raises funds for humanitarian efforts such as the Gulf Coast clean-up, and the rebuilding of New Orleans post-Katrina.

Misha Collins gained fame two years ago when he joined the cast of the CW's cult drama 'Supernatural' as the angel Castiel, a role that instantly brought him more attention -- and Twitter followers -- than he knew what to do with. So Collins did what any aspiring despot with designs on world domination would do; he harnessed the 70,000-plus fans that follow his satirical ramblings on Twitter and raised over 30,000 dollars for UNICEF's disaster relief in Haiti in the space of about two weeks.

Earlier this month, Collins turned once more to his fans to explore further means of raising money and supporting those in need; thus, Random Acts was born. When we caught up with Collins at Creation Entertainment's Salute to 'Supernatural' convention in Vancouver last weekend, he was gracious enough to explain his burgeoning organization from its genesis to its ultimate goals -- watch what he had to say below:

The versatile actor has spoken of his tumultuous childhood before -- Collins and his family spent many of his formative years bouncing from place to place, sometimes homeless and often forced to sleep in abandoned (and not so abandoned) office buildings when circumstances conspired against them. As a consequence, Collins seems all too cognizant of how great an impact a home, a pair of shoes, or even an act of goodwill as simple as handing a flower to a stranger, can have on someone less fortunate.

"I actually think that the most efficacious way of making a difference is to lead by example, and doing random acts of kindness is setting a very good example of how to behave in the world," he reasoned. "While it seems small, it can ultimately be somewhat profound in various people's lives. I know that when people have perpetrated such acts against me, that it has had a lasting effect on me, so I like to return the favor."

Misha CollinsBecause of this, Collins -- who is an avid runner -- is preparing to run a marathon of his own design on Sept. 5, to raise money for three orphanages in Haiti, the relief effort for those affected by the recent flood in Pakistan, and to commit more random acts of kindness worldwide. Random Acts has already amassed over $11,000 so far, but you can still get involved. Previous acts have included buying shoes for a child in New Jersey whose father had just been laid off, providing new furniture and mattresses for the elderly, and donating a brand-new computer to a disadvantaged family.

"One of the criteria that we have is that [Random Acts recipients] are not going to be someone who's a friend, or a friend of a friend of anybody working on it," Collins clarified, when asked to describe the selection process.

"It's got to be somebody that we don't know, to avoid the appearance of impropriety or favoritism, nepotism ... those are things that we do not like, although we practice them in our daily lives," he joked, with his trademark sardonic wit. "In the future we'll have people write in or tweet in with ideas of things that they want to do and then we'll vet them and I'll use dictatorial leadership and make the final selection at the end. That way, no-one can complain that the democratic process somehow failed them, because it won't be democratic, it'll be capricious and arbitrary, which is the way I like to keep it."

Both Bush and Nichols are following in Collins' footsteps, having independently planned to run their own marathon in Wilmington, NC. in November, along with many other members of the 'One Tree Hill' crew, to help fundraise for Global Green's various projects in the Gulf.

Unlike other, larger (and undoubtedly influential) organizations such as the Red Cross, who are often forced to divert much of the money they receive in donations to organizational "overhead" costs like paying for staff, offices and administrative work, Global Green and Random Acts are dedicated to ensuring that 100 percent of proceeds go directly where they are donated, to the people on the ground who need them the most.
Sophia Bush and Austin Nichols
"I don't think it's so much a CW thing," Bush mused, when asked to try and explain why so many passionate, well-informed actors on her network seem so dedicated to making their voices heard. "I would imagine that it's because we're young and active members of the community, we're very in tune with what's going on in the world."

Bush, Collins and Nichols aren't the only CW stars dedicated to improving the fortunes of others; Collins' 'Supernatural' castmate Jared Padalecki has long been an advocate of animal rights through his support of A Dog's Life Rescue, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and sheltering abused or abandoned animals in Los Angeles.

Ian Somerhalder, star of CW's top-rated drama 'The Vampire Diaries,' has a number of charitable efforts close to his heart. In addition to his support of the no-kill animal shelter St. Tammany Humane Society in hometown Covington, La., Somerhalder has also been an integral voice in the outcry against BP following the oil spill that devestated the Gulf coast.

"It's time to change, and I think this disaster is the game changer," Somerhalder told Zap2it in one of many interviews he gave to spotlight the continuing crisis. "It feels like this is one of those catastrophic events that truly changes the way that we think."

Social media has certainly helped Bush, Collins and Somerhalder get in touch with the vibrant, creative minds already present amongst their fanbase, and it seems to have galvanized both the stars and audience members into taking a leap of faith with each other.

"That's the most amazing thing about being young and inspired -- you can likewise inspire other people," Bush pointed out. "Maybe that's the reason why there's so many of us on this network of young people who are getting active; because we realize that we can. It's scary, but we'll make a difference. We just will."

To donate money to Misha Collins' marathon for Random Acts on Sept. 5, or to learn more about the random acts themselves, visit the Random Acts website and the Random Acts YouTube page.

To donate money to Sophia Bush's marathon for Global Green or to learn more about her work for the Gulf, visit her Crowd Rise fundraising page, and check out her inspiring blog.

You can follow Collins and Bush on Twitter (@MishaCollins and @SophiaBush) to stay updated on their latest fundraising efforts.
We'll have more from our interview with Sophia Bush on TV Squad soon -- have the CW stars inspired you to get involved?

[Follow Laura on Twitter @LauinLA.]

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