Special Guest Feature: Bravo

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Joining us for his third Gamers for Giving event is 343’s very own Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky!

Bravo is a man who has held many titles within the professional Halo community. Once a competitor himself, Bravo now works within 343 Industries as the Community Manager & eSports expert for the Halo franchise. Bravo’s face is familiar to nearly every Halo fan. His involvement with Halo eSports and the franchise as a whole has helped lead to the resurgence of competitive Halo experiences. From casting to producing, Bravo has worked alongside the team at Xbox to produce some of the largest Halo competitions in the history of the franchise.

Aside from his career with Halo, Bravo has been an advocate and volunteer for Gamers Outreach since attending his first Gamers for Giving fundraiser in 2011. This February, he’ll be making the journey from Seattle to join us at Gamers for Giving 2015 as one of our on-air personalities for the Halo Championship Series! Spectators and stream viewers will have the chance to catch all the exciting action of this year’s Halo tournament, cast by one of the title’s leading personalities.

If you’re unable to attend Gamers for Giving, the entirety of the Halo Championship Series event will be streamed live at Twitch.tv/Halo! Bravo will be found on stream, holding down the fort!

Be sure to say hello to Bravo at this weekend’s event!

Renewed Focus

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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 benefitted 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.

As of this post, with an average of six children per day using each cart, we estimate Project GO Kart is now serving more than 26,000 children per year in hospitals around the country.

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Looking forward, our objective is to expand these efforts by renewing our commitment to child life services. Starting this year, 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 reach more children in 2015. We’re aiming to raise $25,000 during the weekend of February 21st & 22nd through Gamers for Giving. If you’re able, please consider making a donation by visiting www.GamersforGiving.org. Unable to donate? Spread the word on social media, attend the event in person, or catch the action live on Twitch. We’ll be kicking off the year doing what we do best as gamers, playing games – but it will take everyone’s support to help advance our efforts.

2015 is going to be a phenomenal year. We can’t wait to continue our efforts and make a positive impact in the lives of more children and families. Gamers for Giving is our first step towards realizing that objective, and we hope you’ll be joining us!

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Gamers for Giving is THIS weekend!

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Gamers for Giving 2015 is happening THIS weekend! Over the course of February 21st & 22nd, we’ll once again be setting up camp inside the Eastern Michigan University Student Center for a non-stop marathon of gaming for charity.

Here are a few updates related to the big weekend:

  • The Halo 2 Anniversary tournament is sold out. If your team is on the waiting list, we will notify you via email if a pass becomes available.
  • The BYOC LAN party is entirely sold out. If any seats become available, we will notify individuals on our waiting list.
  • Passes to compete in Call of Duty still remain. If available, passes will also be sold at the door, but keep in mind, the door price is an additional $40.
  • As of this post, 1 ticket remains to compete in Sunday’s Super Smash Bros tournament.
  • All attendees must download and sign the Event Waiver. Please bring this with you to Gamers for Giving.
  • If you are participating in the LAN, don’t forget to bring all your gear! A handy check list can be found here.
  • The Gamers for Giving Schedule is fully updated and available on our website. Please refer to the schedule for any questions related to activity start times.
  • Gamers Outreach is teaming with Uber as the official transportation partner of Gamers for Giving. If you are new to the app, you can use code “GAMERSOUTREACH” for a $20 credit on your first ride.
  • As usual, we will be hosting a raffle at Gamers for Giving! Tickets will be $5 each, or $20 for 5. Proceeds will go towards the Gamers Outreach fundraising goal.

This year, our goal is to raise $25,000 to help construct GO Karts for children in hospitals around the country. GO Karts, or “Gamers Outreach Karts,” are medical-grade video game kiosks that enable nurses to easily provide kids with access to therapy and recreation during long-term hospital stays. Entry fees and donations received during Gamers for Giving will be used to help us kick off these efforts in 2015.

We look forward to seeing you at the event! If you’re unable to attend, be sure to check out all the action on Twitch.tv/GamersOutreach!

Welcome DXRacer!

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Let’s be honest, as gamers, we spend a pretty good amount of time sitting in chairs. That’s why we’re excited to announce our newest partnership with DXRacer, a company that creates high quality gaming and office chairs! DXRacer chairs are known for their race car aesthetic, but are also ergonomically designed to ensure comfort and proper posture during late night gaming sessions.

As a company that is local to Ann Arbor, Michigan (we were surprised too!) we’re proud to welcome DXRacer as a sponsor of Gamers for Giving 2015. The company’s support will help us make an even larger difference in hospitals across the country, as well as those in our own backyard.

If you’re on Twitter, be sure to give the folks at @DXRacerUSA some love! Gamers for Giving casters will be supported by DXRacer chairs during our live broadcast, and event attendees will have the chance to win some chairs of their own during the event.

We look forward to seeing you at Eastern Michigan University on February 21st & 22nd!

 

Uber Partnership

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We’re excited to announce that Gamers Outreach is partnering with Uber as the official transportation provider of Gamers for Giving 2015!

Gamers for Giving attendees will be able to use Uber to travel to the venue, and to explore the surrounding areas of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

If you are new to the service, you can use code GAMERSOUTREACH to receive $20 in Uber credits!

The distance between the Marriott Eagle Crest hotel and the venue is only 3 miles. The approximate fare would be between $5 – $12 dollars. If you are staying at the Marriott, the GAMERSOUTREACH sign up code will allow you to easily move to and from the venue.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all at Gamers for Giving 2015! Be sure to give our friends at @Uber_MI some love on Twitter!

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Special Guest Feature: Michelle D’Antonio

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Joining us for her first Gamers for Giving, Michelle “Missyeru” D’Antonio will be making an appearance at this year’s event!

Michelle has been involved in the costuming community for the past 10 years as an experienced costume crafter and video game enthusiast. What started as a hobby has led to a career in the film industry making costumes for “real” superheroes, including characters from The Hunger Games, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Oblivion.

When Michelle isn’t busy costuming for her next convention, you can find her streaming League of Legends! At the League of Legends Season 3 World  Championships in Anaheim, she collaborated with other experts in the cosplay community to create a live size Corki Cosplay for Keith “Aerion” Knight and his wheelchair.

This will be Michelle’s first Gamers for Giving, and we’re excited to have her representing the cosplay community in support of the cause!

 

Healing Through Games

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Gamers Outreach was recently featured in an article from Concentrate Media, which details the founding story of our organization, and provides insight as to what’s ahead for us in 2015. It’s a great piece that highlights the impact Gamers for Giving has been able to help us make over the past number of years.

If you have some time, give the article a read, and learn about how Project GO Kart is currently helping more than 26,000 children in hospitals around the country!

The full story can be found here.

Special Guest Feature: Goldenboy

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He’s the lovable man with the golden voice of eSports – join us in welcoming back Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez to Gamers for Giving!

Goldenboy first joined the gaming scene years ago as a competitor when he experienced the same competitive sensations behind the controller as he had as an athlete throughout high school. His love for eSports led to pursuing tournament titles in Halo, Call of Duty, and even Asphalt 4 for the cell phone.

His infectious personality and positive reputation as a community mentor unexpectedly put him at the forefront of the industry when, in 2011 at the MLG National Championships for Black Ops, Alex was invited to cast an event. Since then, he has been invited to host and cast events for ReedPop, Microsoft, Square-Enix, Sony, Activision, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, MLG, IPL. WCG, UMG, ESL, Paradox Interactive… ok, basically everybody. He is also a regular contributor to gaming news giant Kotaku.com and frequent guest on console gaming discussion shows.

Most recently, he accepted a full time position with Twitch, where he helps manage publisher and developer relationships.

Goldenboy will be bringing back his luscious voice and charm to Gamers for Giving for the second year in a row. As one of the hosts of the Halo Championship Series, Goldenboy will be holding down the fort during the Halo broadcast, along with his fellow co-casters Walshy and Bravo. Easter egg: Goldenboy sports an orange Gamers Outreach wristband everywhere he goes. Look out for it on stream! We’re excited to have him back supporting the cause.

Welcome Back, Elgato!

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Gamers Outreach is proud to welcome Elgato Gaming as a sponsor of Gamers for Giving 2015!

For those of you who frequently stream or are interested in broadcasting your gameplay, give Elgato a look! Elgato products allow gamers to record and stream Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii U gameplay with the Elgato Game Capture HD60. Seamlessly capture hours of your best moments in stunning 1080p with 60 fps and access them directly on your PC or Mac. The built-in Live Streaming feature gets you up and running on Twitch, YouTube or Ustream in a snap. With Stream Command, easily add your webcam and overlays, and change your stream layout on-the-fly with scenes. Add your voice with the built-in Live Commentary feature, and you’re all set for the big show.

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As a second year supporter of Gamers for Giving, Elgato joins our team of partners who are providing us with resources to help expand the impact of Gamers Outreach programs in 2015. Thanks to Elgato’s support, Gamers for Giving attendees and stream viewers will have the opportunity to win capture card giveaways throughout the weekend!

Be sure to give them some love on Twitter, and follow @GamersOutreach for updates during the event to have the chance at winning one of their provided capture devices!

Welcome back, Elgato! Thank you for supporting this year’s event!

Team Pass Transfers

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For those who are competing in the Gamers for Giving Halo or Call of Duty tournament, please note the following: beginning on Wednesday, February 11th, team passes will no longer be transferable. If you have purchased a team pass to compete at Gamers for Giving, but wish to transfer the pass to another account, you must submit your request before Wednesday, February 11th. Requests to transfer passes after Wednesday will not be accepted.

Refund requests for those unable to attend the event will be accepted until 48 hours prior to the event. Passes will be offered to the next eligible team on the waiting list once the refund has been processed.

Pass transfer and refund requests can be made by opening a support ticket on the LANFest website. Please include your PayPal transaction ID with your request.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone compete at the Eastern Michigan University Student Center on February 21st & 22nd!