How Twitch Streamer Kaelena Uses Gaming for Good

Compassion and charity and in the unlikeliest of places

Need a reprieve from the noise of the world? Tap into Kaelena and watch this self-prescribed "comfy, cozy" streamer guide you toward enlightenment and a life of purpose. 

Fundraising is the name of this game, and charity streaming has become the lifeblood for this social worker turned streamer who's hoping her unique brand of compassionate relaxation can transform the gaming world one stream at a time. Kaelena, who has asked to keep her identity anonymous, is blending her passion for gaming with a deeper desire to help the world.

Kaelena in a Twitch recording studio.

Kaelena

"[Streaming] was always there in the back of my mind until one day I said you can't keep running away from this. I was so used to toxic masculinity in the gaming space as a woman I thought [streaming] would be the same," she said in a phone interview with Lifewire. "But I made my channel and hit live. I wish I didn't wait so long, but I ended up doing it, and I'm happy that I did."

Quick Facts

  • Name: Anonymous
  • Age: 35
  • Located: Chicago, Illinois
  • Random Delight: Collaborative effort. Her husband introduced her to other genres of video games that she would eventually fall in love with, and he would eventually offer his hand in helping her moderate her community and support her through a purpose-filled streaming career. 
  • Quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

The Power of Fate

The Wind City forged Kaelena into the woman she is today. The daughter of a civil engineer and hospital operator, Kaelena's tight-knit family and religious upbringing taught her the importance of community. At her Jesuit-based private school in Chicago, she learned how fulfilling charity could be. They taught her, the budding streamer says, a valuable lesson she has taken with her and centered her life around: to be "a woman for others." 

She has since re-oriented her life for those noble purposes, eventually earning a Master's in social work before blending this passion with her love of gaming to become a force for change on the world's largest live streaming platform. 

When Kaelena finally decided to hit that live button, it would take some time before she found her footing on the platform. She didn't take off until she got into the coziness of simulations. Namely, Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This catapulted her stardom in the scene, eventually allowing her to make the coveted Partner status on the platform and leverage this prominence for good.

"Fundraising is something that's ingrained in me. I've been doing it for almost 20 years now," she said. "I kind of bring gaming and charity work into the same space, and it's been wonderful. I've curated a safe space for my community to feel safe discussing certain things, which helps create a charitable environment."

"Everyone needs a space to exist, and many people need their voice to be heard."

Compassion Action

The community Kaelena has cultivated on the platform is currently 8,000 strong, and with a slew of partnerships and intimate connections, she has cultivated this community into a strong force. From feeling like she wouldn't be welcomed on the platform five years ago to creating a niche to succeed in, Kaelena is an example of how purpose can guide a life. 

Utilizing her social work background has proved more than beneficial for the audience she's garnered and for dealing with the less-than-ideal sides of being a streamer, like dodging hate raids and trolls. In this environment, Kaelena's NPR-esque demeanor and chill vibe has helped long-time community members feel secure in a space that has historically been alienating. 

"Everyone needs a space to exist, and many people need their voice to be heard," she said. "As a content creator, you provide that space. Folks on Twitch need a space to be heard and seen for their identity and who they are, so I show them compassion and understanding." 

Five years in, and her star is still on the rise. Just last year, the Latina streamer was presented with the opportunity to be a featured creator on the front page of Twitch during its 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month lineup. With 18,000 viewers in chat, she made the most of the moment and captured a completely new audience. 

Twitch Streamer Kaelena.

Kaelena

After all, the social aspect of gaming drew her into the pastime in the first place. Connecting with people locally and globally and creating digital communities was compelling. Together with Team Sidequest, which has collectively raised $500,000 for various charitable organizations, she's hoping to inspire change for years to come.

"I just try to approach content creation through a lens of mental health and compassion while playing some cute games," she laughs. "That's why I do what I do. Showing love and understanding to each other between strangers, I want to keep that going." 

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