Gamers Outreach has come a long way over the years. What started as a bunch of high school students eager to host a video game tournament has evolved into an organization making an impact in thousands of people’s lives across the country, and even other parts of the world.
In 2009, we approached Mott Children’s Hospital with the intention to deliver as many video games as possible to kids within their facility through our annual fundraising event, Gamers for Giving. After meeting with the hospital’s staff, we realized we could go a step further. We began working directly with the hospital’s nurses and child life specialists to provide something more specific: accessible means of activities and entertainment for kids during long-term stays.
After spending six months volunteering at Mott, we built our first GO Kart – a portable, medical-grade gaming kiosk nurses could use to wheel video games and entertainment to children who were unable to leave their rooms within the hospital. The first cart was frequently used by staff within the facility, and we were able to witness firsthand the impact it made in both the lives of the hospital staff and the children who benefited from it.
Slowly but surely, we continued raising money to build the carts, with Gamers for Giving acting as the catalyst for their development and deployment. Each year, a few more carts were built, adding to the momentum of the program.
Looking forward, our objective is to expand these efforts by renewing our commitment to child life services. Starting in 2015, we are fully shifting our resources towards the provision of recreation and therapy to children in hospitals through interactive entertainment. Our primary objective is to see Project GO Kart serving more than 80,000 children by the end of 2015.
As part of this renewed focus on child life support, we have decided to discontinue the activities of Fun For Our Troops & Gaming4Others. Both initiatives were stand-alone entities which became a part of our organization in 2010. Through Fun For Our Troops, we were able to distribute hundreds of care packages to deployed troops around the world thanks to the generosity of the gaming community. Respectively, Gaming4Others was able to raise funds through grassroots community game nights and tournaments for a variety of charity causes. Both initiatives have been near and dear to our hearts, and we’re thankful to everyone who has been involved or supported these causes as our organization has developed.
Our renewed focus will enable us to expand our efforts within children’s hospitals. Moving forward, we’re creating new opportunities for gamers and supporters to become involved with our efforts. Gamers Outreach is in the midst of constructing a new website that more thoroughly explains our efforts, and better illustrates where GO Karts are currently deployed. With this new site will come new tools for fundraising and advocacy. Through the new website, gamers will be empowered to construct GO Karts for hospitals of their choosing through a variety of methods including streaming and custom fundraising pages.
Immediately, you can support our quest to help more kids in 2015 by making a donation. Unable to donate? Spread the word on social media, volunteer, or fundraise by streaming on Twitch! No matter who you are, you have the ability to make an impact!
The remainder of 2015 is going to be a phenomenal year, and 2016 looks even brighter. We can’t wait to continue our efforts and support more children and families. We hope you’ll be joining us!