To help cheer up children in local hospitals, Galloway School senior Max Rubinstein started a nonprofit to collect and donate video games. Game Givers has so far collected hundreds of games and donated them through a partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
This spring, Max was recognized as a top youth volunteer in Georgia in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which is awarded with $1,000, an engraved silver medal and a trip to Washington, D.C. for four days of events.
Max wanted a way to continue the legacy of his grandmother, who also loved video games and died of cancer in 2015. Soon after, the local organization Giving Point, a youth development organization, reached out to him, asking him to join their institute. Max then completed a 10-month program by Giving Point on how to run a nonprofit.
“I knew I wanted to do something to preserve my grandmother’s legacy, so in October of 2015 I started a nonprofit called Game Givers, with the goal of donating new or used video games to hospitals,” Max said.
These goals are accomplished in three different ways: organizing video game drives, hosting tournaments, and by working with video game developers themselves. Through entry fees, the tournament raises money to purchase new games to donate them to hospitals that only accept new games.
Since launching in 2015, Game Givers has raised over $110,000 dollars in video game donations, giving thousands of kids in Georgia, Boston, Michigan and internationally in Spain access to games during their hospital stays.
James Aucoin, the director of programs at Giving Point, said he and the organization are proud of what Max achieved.
“We have seen him mature and grow over the years, and we are so proud to have been a guiding support for him. Max has worked tirelessly on Game Givers and, although he does not seek it, he is most deserving of the recognition,” Aucoin said.
Max’s journey began with his willingness to reach out to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for his first partnership. He went around to all of his friends and asked for their help by giving him their old video games that were simply collecting dust.
Max compiled significant donations and hundreds of games. Scottish Rite, CHOA’s Sandy Springs campus, has become one of Game Givers’ biggest partners. Games are also frequently donated to Ronald McDonald Houses.
He kept the nonprofit growing by telling absolute everybody about his work. As the student body president of Galloway, he makes sure to mention the nonprofit in their weekly town hall meeting. He organizes video game drives, works with the school’s video game club and he gives a memorized pitch at least three times a day.
Max said he hopes his work starting a nonprofit inspires other youth to use their passions to make change.
“I think that the biggest thing that needs to come from this is that there needs to be more kids doing this, and there needs to be more people empowering kids to lead and to do crazy things and to take big steps. If you have that passion, that’s what’s most important,” Max said.
For more information about the nonprofit, visit gamegivers.org.
Max will be attending Northeastern University this fall. He will continue to grow Game Givers as he has partnerships in Boston. However, he will be passing on the Atlanta chapter to the president of the video game club at The Galloway School.
This article was written and reported by Kaitlyn Garrett, a student at The Lovett School.
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