18 Aug &
Enjoy this guest post by Jennah Pech, Operations Manager for Gamerosity!
My name is Jennah, and I worked at Gamerosity from Fall of 2015 to Spring of 2016, and just recently had life bring me the opportunity to work here again. For those of you who know me, you know I tend to be a little more analytical and a little less emotional. I’m working on it; I promise. Exhibit A: I made the completely analytical decision to pay my own way to Gamerosity’s GameOn Day Wisconsin. (Actually, shout out to my parents for their generous donation to my travel fund. Love you, John & Esther.>
I’m not really sure I have another way of putting it, but GameOn Day Wisconsin rocked me. I’ve heard so many names of folks in Wisconsin float around the shop here in Oregon, and it was so great to get to meet this community in person. Also, sorry if I creeped any of you lovely Wisconsinites (Wisconsonians?) out by knowing who you are I remember standing in the apparel sales booth and stopping to take a look around. Red-shirted volunteers walked hand-in-hand with kiddos, folks posed for photographs, and Storm Troopers and Disney Princesses danced to the Electric Slide
But really, what blew me away was the total, complete community driven to focus on these kids. From donated food, to donated time, to donated strength for set up and take down, to donated brains for coordinating the effort. There weren’t just families who have been affected by cancer there, but local business volunteers and even Optimists’ Club volunteers. No one person stood up and took credit, but instead, we all watched as kids ran around Marquette University and got to be kids–faces painted, super hero capes flying, and smiles from ear to ear.
With somewhat less smiling, almost 10 years ago I got a tattoo on my wrist of an ampersand (“&”). It’s supposed to serve as a reminder as I walk through life and shake people’s hands that it’s not about me, but about the “&.” Me AND my friends. Me AND my family. Me AND God.
GameOn Day Wisconsin is probably one of the best and most clear displays of “&” that I have experienced. The folks and families there step back as individuals and build each other up as a community. Even more than that, the kids who’ve gotten Hero Packages there in the past ALSO step back, and give forward to other kids. (By now, hopefully you’ve seen the photos of a hoard of kiddos in volunteer shirts–all of whom had received a Hero Package in the past–huddled together and giving new kiddos new Hero Packages. If you haven’t, for sure check out Gamerosity’s Facebook page.)
I’ve spent the weeks since our time in Wisconsin gearing up for Gamerosity’s GameOn Day Portland (You should come! September 23 from 1-5PM at West Hills Christian School!). I’m excited about reaching out to the Portland community and beginning a relationship with families, vendors, and volunteers there. It’s the start of something bigger. With any luck and lots of hard work, hopefully it’s the start of a supportive, loving, interwoven community of families, kids, health care providers, and local businesses. I’m not naive enough or proud enough to think that if such a community develops, it has anything to do with me. But it’s certainly the “&.”
GameOn Day Wisconsin was an affirmation of the good in this world and the tangible evidence of community that I didn’t know I needed. I yearn Gamerosity to organically grow and simultaneously create more communities like the one in Wisconsin, where for everyone involved–volunteers, employees, parents, kids, kids with cancer, and kids who’ve beat cancer–it’s about the “&.” I’m so excited for GameOn Day Portland; I am humbled to have a new memory, new meaning, and new purpose behind the AND in my life and the “&” on my wrist.