Nicole Steiner, 17, of Parker, Colo., a senior at Legend High School, has collected more than $40,000 worth of games, puzzles and books for organizations and individuals in 15 Colorado cities to make life a little brighter for hospitalized children, veterans, kids with special needs, cancer patients, the elderly, homeless people and students from low-income families. When Nicole was a young child, her mother took a horrific fall down some stairs at home and became disabled for a number of years. Many people helped my family with meals, shopping and childcare, recalled Nicole. I am inspired by those who served us. As a result, she decided to give back by doing something for others who are experiencing difficult times in their lives.
Since board games had been a beneficial distraction and social outlet for her mother during her convalescence, Nicole founded A Game for You in 2014. She began organizing large school and community donation drives to collect new and gently used board games, puzzles and books. Then, with the help of classmates and other volunteers, she delivered these items twice a year to hospitals, veterans organizations, special-needs classrooms, cancer centers, assisted-living facilities, homeless shelters, and school libraries. Games, books and puzzles help stimulate mental and social interaction, said Nicole, which can lead to mental, emotional and physical healing. So far, more than 6,000 people have received items from Nicoles collection efforts. Nicole also recently launched a second project called A Journal for You, providing journals for all nine high school counseling offices in her school district to distribute to students as a stress reduction and mental health tool.