This article was originally posted prior to our 10th annual Gamers for Giving fundraiser. While the event has since passed, the needs of hospital patients and ways to get involved with our cause are still relevant! See below…
It’s been 10 years since we hosted the first Gamers for Giving.
Wow – where does the time go!?
Since the founding of our event in 2008, Gamers Outreach has grown into a community of video game enthusiasts eager to make a difference for hospitalized children and their families. Hospitalization can often be a lonely, isolating, and scary experience – especially for young people. We’ve seen it firsthand, and we’re doing everything we can to ease those burdens. Our intent is to inspire and heal patients through interactive play.
Thanks to the generosity of our fellow gamers, we’ve had the opportunity to work with hospitals nationwide. We’ve noticed healthcare professionals face two primary challenges:
- Many hospitals are not equipped with entertainment devices that make gaming content readily accessible to patients (e.g. consoles, controllers, monitors, games, etc.)
- When technology is present, it can be difficult for hospital staff to manage entertainment due to a number of factors (unfamiliarity with equipment, existing responsibilities, ease of mobility, etc.)
Gamers for Giving generates funding in support of two initiatives we believe help produce joy and minimize trauma for patients, while solving the above challenges:
Project GO Kart: Gamers Outreach constructs portable, medical-grade video game kiosks called “GO Karts” (Gamers Outreach Karts). These kiosks enable nurses to easily provide bedside activities to children unable to leave their rooms in hospitals. Each GO Kart is equipped with a gaming console, monitor, and assortment of games. The carts provide a safe, flexible, and efficient way to ensure kids have access to entertainment and coping mechanisms during long-term hospitalization. Each unit also has an internal lift mechanism, which allows healthcare staff to adjust the GO Kart to a patient’s bedside, accommodating a variety of medical scenarios which may limit a patient’s mobility.
Player 2: Player 2 is a program where gamers have the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve acquired through gaming in a manner that supports patients and staff within hospitals. By volunteering, gamers become “digital activity managers” and serve by managing equipment, providing tech support, and playing games with patients. Many hospitals receive game donations, but without proper staffing to manage inventory at a mass scale, it can become difficult for tech donations to properly serve patients as intended. Player 2 helps address this issue by ensuring knowledgeable individuals are present to distribute technology and exercise its positive benefits.
So how much progress have we made?
At this time last year, Gamers Outreach programs maintained a footprint in 19 hospitals nationwide. We estimated as many as 105,000 patients were benefiting annually from initiatives like Project GO Kart and Player 2.
As of this blog post, we’ve more than doubled our list of supported hospitals, and quadrupled our capacity to support patients.
Gamers Outreach initiatives exist in 42 facilities across the United States. Collectively, our presence of deployed GO Karts (157 units) has the ability to support as many as 452,600 patients per year.
What’s more: we’re still in the process of expanding. In 2018 (thanks to support from Child’s Play) Gamers Outreach programs will exist in nearly 200 facilities across the U.S. and Canada!
As you can see, the next several months will be quite busy for our team, and much of our growth can be attributed to Gamers for Giving. But 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 U.S. alone. We want to help them all!
Gamers for Giving 2018 is going to help us make steps to do just that. With your support, we can help ensure all children going through hospitalization have access to modern forms of recreation. It’s going to take the collective effort of the gaming community to make a difference in every single hospital nationwide. Here’s how you can get involved:
- Fundraise: We recently built our own fundraising platform which allows gamers to stream in support of Gamers Outreach programs! You can start a general fundraiser, or even rally your community to construct GO Karts for a hospital of your preference. Not a streamer? No sweat! You can still use the platform to reach out to friends, family, or colleagues in support of the big weekend’s goal! Create your first fundraising campaign here. Need artwork for your stream? Download our logo and Twitch banners here.
- Donate: Any amount helps! Donations can be made on the front page of the Gamers for Giving website, or by visiting www.GamersOutreach.org/donate.
- Watch: Gamers Outreach will be streamed live all weekend on our Twitch channel, and with help from a variety of streamers in the gaming community. Be sure to check out our Stream page for all the details!
- Spread the Word: Unable to make a donation, but still want to be involved? Help spread Gamers for Giving hype on social media! You can use the hashtag #GFG2018 to help promote this year’s event and encourage friends to get involved.
Whether you’re streaming from home, or joining us at the EMU Convocation Center, we look forward to having you be a part of this year’s efforts! And remember, all contributions are being matched by our friends at PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds up to $350K! There’s never been a better time to help make an impact.
We’ll see you on April 28th & 29th! Let’s help others level up!
Information and registration for this year’s Gamers for Giving can be found on the event website, located here.