After the busy holiday season with the Dinner Auction and Year End Drive, the Child’s Play Staff can usually take a breather as we settle back into a more normal pace. But this year things have been super busy for the first two months, so much so that we are just now posting our end of year wrapup! Thank you to our community for making it another amazing year in which we impacted over a million children in over 200 facilities across the globe. You did that!
We hit $40 million dollars raised since we started in 2004 - a staggering amount. That has changed the lives for the better of millions and millions of kids across the world, and hopefully we can give you some insight into what those funds have been up to this year!
In addition to raising funds for over 100 Children’s Hospitals in our Child’s Play Network, 2015 saw us deliver custom game carts to over 100 domestic violence shelters in North America, a program originally tested in 2014 to great success. These came equipped with a game console, accessories, and a library of non-violent games pre-loaded. These are kids that may have had to leave in a hurry, often not considering their toys and games that help them cope. The domestic violence program furthers our mission to have games available for those that need them for therapeutic applications.
For the first time, we implemented an outreach program to our hospital network, because oftentimes (and understandably!) practitioners are busy with doing the amazing work of saving lives and working with patients to keep up with the latest games and technology we send them. We partnered with GameChanger Charity to do the Gamer’s Give Back tour where we visit hospitals, bringing age appropriate gifts for some of the sickest long term patients, provide a catered lunch for their staff, and talk with the Child Life staff about gaming and technology. We’ve received great feedback and are looking forward to visiting more hospitals in 2016.
With the help of EEDAR we created a Therapeutic Video Games Recommendations guide. Gamers understand that games can help you feel better, can distract from pain and help you feel happy when you’re down. This tool helps guide Child Life staff, clinicians, and parents determine which games will help kids exhibiting different symptoms.
I know we’ve said it before, but none of this would be possible without the video game industry and gaming community running and supporting fundraisers. Every purchase through Amazon Smile or Humble Bundle, every Amazon Wishlist purchase, and every direct donation adds up to a whole world of good that we can never thank you enough for. You made our 2015 amazing, and together we are looking at an even better 2016!
Warm up those second monitors, folks, because Desert Bus for Hope 9 is nigh. What is Desert Bus for Hope, you ask? Well, the team at Loading Ready Run created a handy video guide to tell you just that:
The most boring game of all time, plus giveaways, auctions, dance parties, digital busking, special guests, and more - it all combines to be something truly unique. Desert Bus is one of our favorite times of year! It’s a celebration of geekiness, giving, and community that exemplifies what Child’s Play stands for in a way that we could have never anticipated (and frankly, neither did the Desert Bus crew!).
[Robert and Jamie assist James in driving the Bus]
In their eight (soon to be nine) years of driving from Tuscon to Las Vegas they’ve raised over $2.4 million - a truly staggering accomplishment and show of support from the incredible community that has rallied around the digital fundraiser. Crafters from around the world create unique props, art, and more, and donors open their wallets to bring home one-of-a-kind pieces during tense digital bidding wars through chat. There’s an entire department dedicated to shipping that runs like an impressively well-oiled machine, and every prize is shipped as soon as possible - most times, while the marathon is still going.
A Rare Pin lot is auctioned For The Kids!
Tune in this week as we embark on a journey from Tuscon to Las Vegas… back to Tuscon, then to Vegas again. Throw a few donations in to see some incredible dance moves or hear some karaoke of your favorite tune. Check out the Live and Silent Auctions and see if anything might be worthy of your own bidding war. Hop into the incredibly friendly chat and say hello to Robert, Kristin, Erick, and Jamie as they visit throughout the week.
[Kristin and Jamie attempt to complete a donation challenge during Desert Bus for Hope 8]
Most of all, remember: every donation that rolls in, every mind-blowing auction or few dollars to push the numbers over the edge; it changes lives. Those donations are making a difference to kids in hospitals and domestic violence shelters around the world every single day. It’s thanks to Loading Ready Run and their amazing dedication to this event, year after year. It’s thanks to the chat, the bidders, the donors, the crafters. It’s thanks to this amazing community. It’s thanks to you. Thank you.
REMINDER! Early Bird ticket prices for this year’s Child’s Play Dinner Auction are closing soon - get your tickets by November 15th and you’ll get a $10 discount. Individual tickets are here, group tables are here. We’re also welcoming items for our auction! Instructions on how to donate are here. Hope to see you December 10th!
Today marks the official launch of the Child’s Play holiday season! Every year we are so honored and amazed by the support of the community, and this year is already no different. We have a bunch of really exciting announcements, including Early Bird pricing for the Dinner and Desert Bus for Hope, but we also have some awesome new programs for you to check out: Amazon Smile, the Power Up campaign, and the Gamers Give Back Tour! 2015 has been a great year for Child’s Play already and we know that the community is just getting started.
As we announced last week, this year’s Child’s Play Dinner Auction will be held December 10, 2015. For the first year ever, we’ll be offering Early Bird pricing for individual tickets! Tickets are $10 off until November 15th, at which time they’ll go back to the regular price of $145. We’re excited for another year of incredible auction items, fancy outfits, and butternut squash ravioli. Grab your Early Bird individual tickets here or your sponsored tables here. We hope you’ll join us!
The start of the Child’s Play season is marked by a very special tradition: Desert Bus for Hope! The 9th of it’s kind, to be exact, and it begins November 14th, 2015 at 10AM PST. If you’re unfamiliar with Desert Bus for Hope, it’s a charity gaming marathon like no other. Hosted by the talented internet sketch comedy group Loading Ready Run, Desert Bus is a week-ish long drive across a digital desert playing the most boring game ever made. There are auctions, challenges, songs, dances, spooky stories and no end of shenanigans. Desert Bus 8 raised a whopping $643,242.58, which is just staggering - the community rallies during this week in an inspiring way. No matter when you tune in, you should see a familiar face - Robert, Kristin, Jamie, and Erick are all planning to visit the Lunar Module Mk. 2 at some point during the ride. Definitely bookmark desertbus.org and check it out throughout the week!
As you may know, the Amazon Wishlist system has always been foundational to our program in working with our network hospitals. With over 120 facilities in our network, we have more wishlists than ever before and it’s more likely that you can donate to a deserving children’s hospital in your area. In addition to our wishlists, you can also now use Amazon Smile during your regular Amazon shopping to donate to Child’s Play! Head to Smile.Amazon.com to assign Child’s Play as your default cause, and then when you shop, navigate to smile.amazon.com. Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to Child’s Play- it doesn’t cost you anything, and it really adds up! Whether you’re picking out gifts for your local facility from our wishlist, doing holiday or black friday shopping, or grabbing your regular groceries: when you shop from smile.amazon.com and donate to Child’s Play it makes a big difference.
Speaking of Amazon, the team at Merch by Amazon contacted us with a generous offer earlier this year: let’s work together to create something that the game community will love, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Child’s Play. Thus, the Power Up campaign was born! We created a t-shirt based on the idea of the community’s generosity providing a buff, a power-up for the kids in our hospitals and domestic violence shelters. Over the next few months, game studios will have the opportunity to do the same and list their shirt on Merch by Amazon. The community will have the chance to buy and share the shirts they love, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Child’s Play. Pretty awesome, right? Check out the Child’s Play Power Up shirt, and keep an eye on our Twitter for designs from devs.
We’ve talked a lot about ways to support Child’s Play this holiday season, but let’s take a moment to highlight one of the wonderful programs that your donations make possible. In partnership with GameChanger charity, Child’s Play has launched the Gamers Give Back tour. We’re visiting 15 hospitals with the mission to bring an afternoon of hope and joy to the patients, families, and the staff. We cater a ‘comfort food’ meal, bring presents and toys for kids and siblings as well as gifts for staff. We know that the wishlist gifts and annual shipments make a huge impact, and reinforcing that with an afternoon of excitement and happiness serves to acknowledge the hard work of the individuals serving the patients and the patients themselves. We’re so grateful for the donations that make the tour possible, and we’ll be highlighting some of our tour stops throughout the season.
Child’s Play has been able to brighten the lives of millions of children, and that number grows every day. It’s thanks to you, our community, that we are able to do what we do. Thank you.