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Gamers for Giving 2018: Registration Has Opened!

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Gamers rejoice across the land! Registration to participate in Gamers for Giving 2018 has opened!

All tickets are sold through our friends at the Intel LANFest series, and can be purchased here.

Gamers for Giving 2018 will take place on April 28th and 29th at the EMU Convocation Center. This year, we’re chasing down a $350,000 fundraising goal to provide recreation and therapy to hospitalized children across the country. Specifically, a large portion of the funds raised will go towards constructing GO Karts – portable video game kiosks which are used to ensure patients have access to bedside activities during long-term care. At this very moment (thanks to fundraising throughout 2017) we’re in the process of delivering GO Karts to nearly 200 pediatric hospitals across the country – but there’s still so much work to be done!

Gamers for Giving funding will also help us expand the presence of our initiative Player 2, which empowers gamers to support families and staff undergoing treatment within hospitals. The initiative currently exists within C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and Rady Children’s Hospital – but we hope to expand the program to between 2 – 5 more facilities in 2018.

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Eager to help us reach the goal? Donations can be made on the front page of the Gamers for Giving website. You can also stream in support of Gamers Outreach by creating a fundraising campaign!

Here’s a full breakdown of the passes available to purchase:

  • General BYOC LAN Seat:
    $35 EARLY BIRD Online (register before Feb 12th) 
    $45 Online (for registration after Feb 12th)
    $55 at the DoorPurchase this ticket if you would like to participate in the BYOC LAN. This ticket also grants you entry into all of our headline PC tournaments. As an attendee, you’ll bring your PC / console and have a dedicated space to play video games with fellow attendees for the entire weekend! Internet / 2 power outlets are provided with each seat. We’ll also be supporting a variety of casual PC game servers for leisure-play. Check out the LAN Party section of the website to see a list of things you’ll want to bring. Tickets sold online after February 12th will cost $45. Tickets at the door will cost $55.
  • VIP LAN Seat & Sky Loft:
    $125 Online | $200 at the Door

    Purchase this ticket if you would like to participate in the BYOC LAN as a VIP. This ticket includes a number of extra benefits, including…

    • Access to the Gamers Outreach Sky Loft: The Sky Loft is a hospitality lounge with privileged views of the arena floor, set aside as an area for guests, partners, and streamers. Premium food items and beverages will be served in a relaxing atmosphere, overlooking the entirety of the Gamers for Giving venue.
    • Extra Table Space: VIPs receive an extra foot of table space.
    • Early Access to the Venue: VIPs will be able to set up their rigs before the doors of Gamers for Giving open.
    • Gamers for Giving T-shirt: VIPs receive a Gamers for Giving t-shirt as part of their purchase!
    • Skip the Check-in Line: VIPs will be able to bypass the check-in line the morning of Gamers for Giving.
  • Halo Team Pass:
    $160 Online | $200 at the Door

    Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2018 Halo 5 tournament on Xbox One. This team pass grants a total of 4 players + 1 coach with access to the event. Only 1 member from your team needs to purchase this pass for your group. Team information will be collected when you check-in at the event.
  • Call of Duty Team Pass:
    $160 Online | $200 at the Door

    Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2018 Call of Duty WW2 tournament. Tournament will be hosted on the PlayStation 4 console. This team pass grants a total of 4 players + 1 coach with access to the event. Only 1 member from your team needs to purchase this pass for your group. Team information will be collected when you check-in at the event.
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee Player Pass:
    $20 Online | $30 at the Door

    Purchase this pass to compete in the Gamers for Giving 2018 Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament on GameCube. This pass grants 1 player with access to the event.

As usual, press and spectators will be able to access Gamers for Giving for free! If you are a parent accommodating a minor, a member of the press, or you’re someone who just wants to come and check out the event, you’ll only need to visit the spectator check-in desk when you arrive.

Be sure to help spread Gamers for Giving hype by tweeting us with the hashtag #GFG2018! We hope to see you on April 28th & 29th at the EMU Convocation Center!

Founder of Charity-Gaming Talks Benefits of Video Games in Hospital

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Jim Weller (second from the right) is the Assistant Director of Patient Experience at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH), and we recently had the chance to sit down and discuss the benefits of video games for children in hospitals.

Jim has worked in hospitals his entire life, and is the founder of Charity-Gaming – a nonprofit organization that help kids stricken with illness feel like normal kids by providing an escape through video games. Charity-Gaming provides handheld gaming systems to patients to make their hospital stay more comfortable. Bonus feature: the patients actually keep the systems!

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Our partnership started when Jim was looking for a video game cart to purchase for SIUH. His research led him to Gamers Outreach – and after a bit of fundraising, Jim managed to construct two GO Karts for patients at the hospital! Most recently, Jim’s organization placed three more GO Karts within nearby facilities in New York, bringing his total number of GO Karts constructed to 5 units.

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Another strong motivator for Jim was his own experience seeing his father treated at the hospital. Jim’s goal is to ensure every patient at every hospital has access to video games. There are many benefits to having video games accessible at the bedside, including building math skills and inspiring creativity with games like Minecraft. Video games are powerful developmental tools for kids to build critical thinking and, we believe as does Jim, that the full potential of this has not been tapped. With the help of video games, Jim notes an upswing in not only patient happiness, but hospital staff happiness as well as the parents of the patients.

We look forward to working together with Jim on our combined quest to provide access to video games to every child being treated at a hospital.

Four Ways To Build Your Own GO Kart

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With the new production process complete, it’s now cheaper and more accessible than ever to build a Gamers Outreach Kart (GO Kart)!

Not familiar? GO Karts are portable video game kiosks built specifically for the medical environment. Each unit is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, and assortment of games. GO Karts enable nurses to easily provide bedside activities to children in hospitals who are unable to leave their rooms for extended periods of time. Each kart offers a safe and efficient way to ensure kids have access to entertainment.

Once constructed, GO Karts make an impact that lasts for many years. Our first GO Kart was built in 2009 and still exists in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital! We estimate a GO Kart is used (on average) by ~8 children per day, which means a single unit could benefit nearly 3,000 patients per year!

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The donor commitment for each GO Kart is $3,500 – which covers everything – the kart itself, gaming console, games, monitor, controllers, freight shipping (to any hospital in the mainland U.S.) setup, and a 2 year warranty!

Interested in building a GO Kart for your local hospital? Here are four ways you can get started:

Fundraising Platform
Looking for a way to collect donations from friends, coworkers, or fans on social media? Make use of the of the Gamers Outreach Fundraising platform! Each fundraising page can be uniquely tailored to your story. Customize your page by inserting your own fundraising video or stream (or use the default we provide). You can also add a description to your page, sharing why this cause is important to you, and asking friends for support. The goal for a GO Kart is set at $3,500, but you can also edit this amount to a custom goal (perhaps if you’d like to build multiple karts, or just generally fundraise). If you’re interested in building a GO Kart and raising funds on an on-going basis, our fundraising platform is the most streamlined way to get the job done! Once you’ve completed your GO Kart campaign, you’ll receive a congratulatory email, and one of our team members will get in touch to start the conversation about your new GO Kart donation!

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Organize a Community Event
Start your own gaming event, go door to door, throw a charity soccer tournament at school, the possibilities are endless! The old school methods are tried and true. You can’t go wrong putting in some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, and the more accessible you make your event, the easier it will be to start the groundswell of support. Sporting tournaments are a great idea – especially if you’re in middle school or high school and have access to plenty of people and simple marketing. Pick the most popular sport at your school and downsize the roster requirement to allow more teams to participate. If you want to have a football tournament, make it a 5v5 flag football tournament; if you want to have a soccer or basketball tournament, make it 3v3; or any other sport! Or maybe your school has a gaming club (if not, you should be the one to get it started!) that would have interest in helping to organize a fundraiser. The big takeaway here is this: activities help bring people together and can be a great way to raise money. You just have to pick one and get started! Contact some local businesses for sponsorship and ask for gift cards or prizes for the winners. To reduce your stress as the tournament organizer, be sure to have people enter by donating on the Gamers Outreach Fundraising platform. You won’t have to worry about collecting money, and your supporters will be able to receive individual tax receipts!

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Summon Your Fellow Gamers
Through the power of streaming sites, like Twitch, you can broadcast your fundraiser to the masses! Hop on the sticks (or mouse and keyboard), and start streaming your favorite game in support of the cause. Take this to the next level by organizing a streaming marathon with your friends. We’ve had marathons last up to a full week, featuring multiple streamers in shifts, but you can play for as long or short as you’d like. Similar to organizing a community event, you can reach out to companies for donations so that your stream will be packed with giveaways and other fun activities for the viewers. Don’t forget to drop that link to your fundraising page in your panels and blast it out all over social media!

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Direct Contribution
Perhaps you’re in a position to directly contribute $3,500. Sponsoring a GO Kart build or purchasing a unit for a hospital is fairly straightforward. Simply email us at contact@gamersoutreach.org letting us know you’d like to acquire a unit. We can provide you with an invoice, or you can make a straight donation on our website. Just be sure to drop us an email so we can know where you’d like your GO Kart sent! We’ll follow up with all the usual questions, and even help organize a visit with the hospital if it’s of interest! We recognize all our donors atop each GO Kart – so sponsoring a unit could be a great charity project for your workplace!

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Got another idea for how to build GO Karts? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Thinking about getting started yourself? In the words of a famous sports company – JUST DO IT! But most importantly, GL HF. We can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish for kiddos in hospitals!

Annual Summary: 2016 – 2017

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The year-end is an exciting time. It’s an opportunity for reflection, gratitude, and preparation.

I often think on our role within hospitals as a video game industry charity, and how we can be of help to patients. To that end, our purpose remains clear: Gamers Outreach exists to inspire and heal patients through the power of interactive play. By providing equipment, technology, and software to hospitals, we’re actively working to ensure children have access to activities during treatment. At our core, we’re a group of video game enthusiasts eager to make a difference.


Through the last decade of service, we’ve come to learn a lot about the healthcare environment. As our programs have expanded – and the breadth of supported hospitals has increased –  I’ve become more convinced of the incredible benefit games have in the hospital setting. I’ve also been surprised to realize how much work there is yet to be done. We’ve talked extensively about the role of video games in hospitals, and we know hospital staff turn to games as a way to provide children with access to activities. However, many hospitals still lack streamlined hardware mechanisms that ensure content is available to patients. With that, we also know it’s often difficult for staff to actively manage equipment and accessories even when they’re made available.

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One of our solutions has been Project GO Kart, and the majority of our focus this past year has been on effectively scaling the manufacturing process of the carts to meet the demands of hospitals nationwide. Even while undergoing manufacturing upgrades, 2017 was a strong period of growth, and the generosity we’ve seen from the gaming community has astounded our team. Our outreach has expanded significantly in the course of the past year. In our last annual report, I mentioned Gamers Outreach programs were benefiting an estimated 105,000 children across 19 hospitals. Since then, the impact of our programs has more than doubled. At the time of this writing, Project GO Kart is benefiting as many as 236,000 patients in nearly 30 hospitals around the U.S.

What’s more, thanks to some major fundraising events and partners this year, (e.g. PUBG, Child’s Play, Gamers for Giving 2017) in 2018 we expect Gamers Outreach programs to be of service to more than 800,000 children in nearly 200 healthcare facilities.

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With this expansion comes the need for increased capacity. We’re actively recruiting volunteers willing to help fulfill Gamers Outreach programs at their local hospital. For us, volunteer opportunities within hospitals take on a couple different forms:

  • Player 2: Though only available in a select few hospitals, by Q2 2018 we anticipate rolling out a dedicated program page for the Player 2 initiative on our website. Through Player 2, we’ve been inviting gamers to serve as “digital activity managers.” Volunteers help solve minor tech problems, distribute software, and play games with patients. As of this writing, Player 2 exists in C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and recently launched in Rady Children’s Hospital (San Diego).
  • GO Kart Race Crew: We’re looking for volunteers throughout the U.S. & Canada who can assist with regional GO Kart deliveries. As a Race Crew member, you’ll be volunteering to ensure GO Karts are fully operational once they’ve been shipped to hospitals. If you’re interested, check out the full write-up here.

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As you can see, the next several months will be quite busy for our team. However, even with the dramatic expansion of supported patients, we’re barely reaching the incredible volume of children hospitalized annually. Each year, millions of kids are treated across hundreds of hospitals around the country, and we’ve realized the benefit in teaming up with other folks working in the hospital setting. In 2018, you’ll see us joining up with groups like Child’s Play and AbleGamers to extend our collective impact. Earlier in the year, we also partnered with organizations like GameChanger charity to help drive awareness of the various ways games can help in hospitals. In other words, yes – 2017 marked the beginning of the video game charity justice league, and we couldn’t be more excited to share this work with such wonderful partners.

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This growth wouldn’t be possible without the help of our community. In 2016, total public support for Gamers Outreach programs tallied nearly $430,000.00. And while it won’t be formally noted until next year’s report – our 2017 revenue is hovering between $1.5 – $2 million. Funding in support of our initiatives is largely driven by grassroots contributions via the gaming community and hospital donor networks. That said, in the last year, we’ve been able to diversify our revenue streams to include a slightly wider spread of grants and program-related services. Thankfully we’ve been able to maintain fairly lean operating costs alongside this increase in resources. Our 2016 management and operating expenses accounted for less than 13% of total expenditures. For those curious, our full 2016 Form 990 can be found here.

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A major driver of Gamers Outreach culture and impact is our annual fundraiser, Gamers for Giving. Through ticket sales, online donations, sponsorship, and with the help of Twitch broadcasters – more than $315,000 was generated at our 2017 event! In 2018, we’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Gamers for Giving – truly a momentous occasion. It was in 2008 we hosted our first LAN party (one that didn’t get shut down by police), marking the start of Gamers Outreach programs. The event will be taking place on April 28th / 29th, and we’ll be chasing down a $350,000 fundraising goal! This will certainly be the largest fundraiser we’ve organized, and we can’t wait to chase down the goal with all our attendees and supporters online. If you’re near Michigan or feel like making the trip, we invite you to join us! Registration will open on January 26th, and information for the event will be posted on GamersforGiving.org.

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From everyone at team Gamers Outreach, we’d like to thank you for your support throughout 2016 & 2017! It’s a privilege to do this work, and we look forward to making an even greater impact for children and their families in 2018!

Have a wonderful new year! We’ll see you in 2018!

Zach Wigal
Founder, Gamers Outreach

Patrick Peterson Dedicates GO Karts to Phoenix Children’s

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Known for his lock-down defensive style on the football field, Patrick Peterson is one of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks and a captain of the Arizona Cardinals.

But this week, he was working a different type of coverage.

Twenty minutes from the Arizona Cardinal’s home field, University of Phoenix Stadium, Patrick Peterson arrived at Phoenix Children’s Hospital last Monday with an assortment of holiday gifts for the kids. Among toys, dolls, and other presents, Patrick dedicated three GO Karts that will serve hospital patients for years to come.

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Our Founder, Zach Wigal, was present to personally dedicate the carts along with Patrick and the Patrick Peterson Foundation For Success. The addition of these new GO Karts emphasizes the clear wants and needs of the children receiving care from the hospital. Entertainment is an important component of improving the quality of life of patients, easing the recovery process. With Patrick’s kind donation, the total number of carts at Phoenix Children’s is up to seven, and smiles will be spreading faster than ever amongst the kiddos.

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We’d like to extend a massive “Thank You!” to P2 and his team for making this donation happen and personally delivering the GO Karts. The entire Gamers Outreach organization looks forward to a lasting relationship filled with more smiles and entertainment!

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Gamers for Giving 2018: Registration Opens January 26th

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Mark your calendars! Gamers for Giving 2018 tickets will go on sale Friday, January 26th at 10 AM Eastern!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be updating the Gamers for Giving website with all kinds of goodness related to our 2018 event. Be on the lookout as we share our list of headline tournaments, travel information, ticket availability, and various ways you can support the big fundraising goal!

As we get closer to April, we’ll start rolling out our broadcast schedule, as well as any special activities taking place on the big weekend. If you plan on attending, make sure you’re ready to buy tickets on the 26th! All of our LAN party seats sold out within 24 hours last year O_O.

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Gamers for Giving. We can’t wait to celebrate the occasion and make an even bigger difference for hospitalized kids and their families.

Hope to see you on April 28th & 29th at the EMU Convocation Center!

Xbox Holiday Giveaway – Thanks PUBG!

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Over the past year, we’ve been honored to receive an incredible amount of support from our friends at PUBG Corp. Collectively, with help from the community, the PUBG team has been able to raise more than $363,000 in support of Gamers Outreach programs.

That’s a lot of chicken dinners… and GO Karts for kiddos.

It all started earlier this year with the 2017 Charity Invitational. During a single 12 hour event, streamers joined together to raise more than $200,000 for Gamers Outreach, with $100K coming via a direct contribution from the game’s developers. Closing out the year strong, PUBG and Twitch recently teamed up again to host a winter charity fundraiser – generating an additional $140,000 to further our work in hospitals.

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And did we mention 50% of their merchandise sales are being donated to Gamers Outreach and our friends at GameChanger? How generous can one game dev be!?

As a small token of appreciation, we’re giving away five game keys for the newest iteration of PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, recently made available on Xbox!

You can enter for the chance to win by clicking here.

Each action grants an additional entry, so be sure to increase your chances!

Our deepest thanks go out to PUBG Corp. and the community of gamers who’ve helped been a part of this year’s massive fundraising effort. We can’t wait for you to all see the result of this work as GO Karts are deployed nationwide!

 

Huntsville Children’s Receives GO Karts!

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The Gamers Outreach holiday season is in full swing and dedications from our recent batch of GO Karts continue! Last week we had the chance to visit Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. Thanks to a generous contribution from our sponsor ADTRAN, two GO Karts were delivered to patients at the facility!

Local WHNT News 19 was on site to cover the event, and grabbed a few quotes from our founder as well as the child life specialists at the hospital:

Patients and staff alike were elated by the addition of the new GO Karts, and both units were put to use as soon as they arrived. With a fairly limited supply of toys and games at the hospital, it was apparent these two GO Karts are going to have an immense impact for patients and their families. Full coverage from the event can be found here.

ADTRAN, a sponsor of Gamers for Giving 2017, has been incredibly supportive of Gamers Outreach programs. With a large presence of employees in Huntsville, the ADTRAN staff chose to make their first GO Kart delivery to Huntsville Children’s in an effort to support their local community. The GO Karts were built thanks to the company’s employee donation program (Team ADTRAN), and we were excited to share the experience of a GO Kart delivery with members from their crew.

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This contribution marks our first foray into the state of Alabama, and we’re so proud ADTRAN helped make it possible! We hope it’s just the first of many more to come.

Our thanks go out to Team ADTRAN for their support of Gamers Outreach & Gamers for Giving, and of course, to the staff and patients of Huntsville Women & Children’s for accomodating our delivery! We hope you enjoy your GO Karts!

For the kids, by the kids: CHLA Receives 10 GO Karts

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Last week, we had the opportunity to celebrate Giving Tuesday with our friends at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles – and to say the least, it was a special day.

10 brand new GO Karts have been dedicated to serve patients at the hospital. Appropriately, these units were built thanks to the fundraising efforts of some of the youngest donors we’ve had the pleasure to work with – The Junior Ambassadors of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Los Angeles news network KABC-TV channel 7 came out to cover the story:

The Junior Ambassadors of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are kids and teens from the community who support the hospital’s life saving work. The program offers kids the opportunity to work together and become incredible hospital representatives and fundraisers. It’s a powerful and inspiring model of kids helping kids. Since 2012, Junior Ambassadors have given hope to the Los Angeles community by speaking at various events, sharing their stories and inspiring more than $1.6 million in donations to support the hospital’s patients and families.

Through months of fundraising efforts, the Junior Ambassadors were able to collectively generate more than $35,000 in contributions to build a whopping 10 GO Karts for patients! To date, their delivery ties Aaron Greenberg’s campaign for most carts delivered in a single dedication. This brings the total unit count within Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to 17 GO Karts, the most of any facility we support at the time of this writing. Staff at the hospital have told us they hope to eventually receive/acquire up to 50.

For our team, this delivery was a surreal full-circle moment. It was inspiring to meet children so young eager to make a difference through their shared passion for gaming. The enthusiasm of the young ambassadors goes to show charitable giving can start at any age and through any circumstance. Brooks Vogt, age 7, was excited to give back. He’s beat cancer twice, and told us he enjoyed playing Minecraft on our existing GO Karts during his treatment.

These GO Karts represent the very first units we’ve dedicated to a hospital of our October construction batch. We couldn’t be prouder to have worked with the Junior Ambassadors of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to see this initial group of GO Karts deployed.

For the kids, by the kids! Hats off to the Junior Ambassadors for making the first delivery of our newest GO Karts a reality for patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles!

Many more to come.

GO Kart Race Crew – Volunteers Needed!

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Fellow gamers! As many of you are aware, we’re delivering our latest batch of GO Karts to hospitals across the country.

2018 is going to be a busy year for Gamers Outreach as we work towards escalating our list of supported facilities to nearly 200 locations across the U.S. and Canada! Obviously this is great news! More patients and families will have easy access to entertainment inside hospitals than ever before! However, to accomplish this, we need your help!

We’re looking for volunteers throughout the U.S. & Canada who can assist with regional GO Kart deliveries! If you’ve ever wanted to get involved with Gamers Outreach programs, this is a perfect chance to support work that could be taking place right in your hometown hospital.

Volunteers will be part of our newly formed outreach team, the “GO Kart Race Crew”. As a Race Crew member, you’ll be volunteering to ensure GO Karts are fully operational once they’ve been shipped to hospitals.

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Here’s an overview of how that works:

  • A GO Kart is manufactured and shipped from our warehouse to its new home at a hospital.
  • The GO Kart will mostly be assembled when it arrives to the hospital. However, a monitor, gaming console, and controllers will need to be added to the unit.
  • A Race Crew member (that’s you!) will arrive to the hospital with a group of other volunteers on a specified date. Together, the Race Crew volunteers will assemble the GO Kart, and ensure it’s ready for use within the hospital. This process will takes approximately 1 hour per kart.
  • Once the GO Kart is ready for action, volunteers will take a photo of / with the GO Kart. The photo will be uploaded to the Gamers Outreach impact map for tracking. A Gamers Outreach staff member will communicate with the Race Crew volunteers to ensure the GO Kart has been properly assembled.

That’s the gist of it! Race Crew volunteers will be responsible for overseeing GO Kart deliveries, and assisting with upkeep as time goes by. Volunteer opportunities will be first-come, first-serve, and will largely be based on regional availability of volunteers.

If this is an opportunity that interests you, we invite you to fill out our volunteer application on the Gamers Outreach website! Filling out an application is by no means a firm commitment. It just lets us know that you’re interested so we can reach out with additional information. We’ll reach out to you directly when an opportunity arises!

You can submit a volunteer application by visiting this link.

Hope to see you in the pits throughout 2018!