We talked about Gamers Outreach in July of last year here at Big Hearted Gamers because they are pretty awesome. The goal of Gamers Outreach is to provide kids in hospitals with recreation and therapy through the power of video games and they’ve done an amazing job.
As of publication, Gamers Outreach is helping 78,840 children per year. That’s a staggering number! Think about the city in which you live. Your home city might be huge, it might be small but the number of children that Gamers Outreach helps is the size of a medium sized city. Mind. Blown.
But Gamers Outreach isn’t content simply sitting back, helping children with their GOKarts and being awesome. Nope. They’re raising the bar.
Most recently they introduced a new program that they’ve been piloting at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. The program is called Player 2.
Player 2 is described by Gamers Outreach as follows:
We believe Player 2 can help address both areas of need. Through Player 2, gamers will be able to assist hospital staff members with basic tech support related to interactive technology. More importantly, gamers will become pseudo “digital activity managers” by helping to distribute games to patients. Volunteers will even play games with patients who may not be able to socialize with peers or their own family (due to absence related to employment obligations).
Most recently Gamers Outreach interviewed one of the initial 5 Player 2s, Dave Anderson. The interview is amazing and demonstrates just how many Big Hearted Gamers there are out there. If you have 5 minutes, please spend them reading about Dave Anderson’s view of this amazing pilot program. Here’s a quick quote from the interview to motivate you to read the full interview. Here are a couple of stories from Dave’s experience in this program:
A lot of what I’ve learned has just been about the kids. The kids are so happy to have someone around who knows about games and wants to play games with them. They’re so happy to have someone there that they can engage with. Most of the games are two player, so it’s easy to jump in with whatever the kids are doing. When they see you and remember you, they’re just so thrilled. It’s just pleasantly surprising to see their smiles light up.
I had this one patient whose mother was with them. She hadn’t slept for a while, and she was so thankful someone was there to play games with her child. She grabbed a quick nap on the couch while I was there playing games. It was a wonderful thing to be able to help someone with.
I also got to spend a good amount of time with one patient who was really looking forward to the hospital’s Star Wars day (they had the 501st group come in with authentic cosplay costumes). I was playing games with this kid for at least an hour, and then the hospital staff came in with the Star Wars characters. I volunteered to take him down to the play room so he could participate. He was thrilled and happy to see them, but it was also cool seeing something I could relate to, and have the kids relate to it. They had an R2 D2 that was fully functional. It was so awesome seeing another group of people probably with similar interests doing something great for the kids. That was just a random example of how video games connected us all.
There are so many amazing Big Hearted Gamers out there. Huge props to Gamers Outreach for smashing it out of the park with their new prrogram. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Gamers Outreach.
If you know of a Big Hearted Gamer, please let us know!