HeroJam Raises Money for Children in Hospitals

HeroJam is an organization that runs charity game jams at Rochester Institute of Technology to raise money for the Child’s Play Charity, which supports kids in hospitals around the world by providing them with toys, books, and games to give them something enjoyable during their stay. HeroJam was founded by Luke Miller, a 4th year Game Development student, in December 2016.

The first HeroJam game jam was in spring of 2017. After 60 days of preparation, it proved successful with over 60 students signing up before the event’s start. During the event, students raised money for Child’s Play and had a chance to win prizes at the end of the game jam. By the end of the 42 hour game jam, 47 students had completed their games and $900 had been raised for kids in hospitals.

On October 27th, the second HeroJam game jam started. With more planning and time to get things ready, over 90 students signed up for the event. This HeroJam’s theme was “everyday heroes”. The theme reminded us that everyone in a community can do something to be a hero just by helping each other out. This second event allowed participants to raise donations in their name.  Participants’ friends and family donated in their name with extraordinary results.

Participants preparing for the kickoff of the second HeroJam.

Early on the first night, an auction for a box of Magic cards began, where participants raised donations and the one with the highest amount donated by the end of the auction would win the prize. By the end of the auction at midnight, over $1,000 had been raised for charity just for the Magic card prize. Over the next two days, more donations came in from numerous sources in name of the participants. On the 28th, another auction for more Magic cards was run and raised a further $300+ for charity.

Expecting this jam to be a bit bigger, Luke set a goal of $1,800, double what the previous semester had raised. This goal was met with overwhelming results when the first night raised over $1,900 alone. By the end of the event an amazing $3,127 had been raised for kids. The community rallied together crushing the original goal and giving us high hopes for next year. 

Participants get to share their games after a long weekend.

We had one prize for the Best Overall Game and a prize for the runner up position. Prizes were provided by Bungie and Microsoft. The winners of Best Game Overall were fourth year students Anna Karwacki and Andrew Dillon. The pair created a co-op game about TAs and Professors helping students together. The runners up were David Liu and Tiger Louck, creating a game about the liquidators during the Chernobyl disaster. 

There were also three top donor awards. The 3rd place donor was Samantha Levey with $365 raised in her name, winning an Xbox One wireless controller, a Microsoft t-shirt, and a Destiny Strange Coin. 2nd place was Jordan Mato raising $545 in his name and winning a controller, a Microsoft shirt, and a Destiny Strange Coin. The 1st place donor was Luke Hedrick, having an awesome $626 raised in his name and winning a controller, a Microsoft shirt, a Destiny Strange Coin, and a Destiny Ghost. 

Participants view each other's games.

Our hearts are filled with an ambundance of joy knowing that HeroJam had such an impact a positive impact for children in hospitals. 

A special thanks to Microsoft & Bungie for sponsoring this event, and helping children in need.