Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Pinball for Therapy

 

 

By Jesus Calo 

Think back to a fond memory playing at an arcade. The rush when first walking in, the fun experience of winning prizes, and reaching a high score after a game of pinball. Think of the sounds of pinballs clashing and lights flashing. Believe it or not, there are scientific findings that playing games, such as pinball, can directly affect a person’s mood and overall health. This is what Project Pinball Charity is trying to accomplish – bringing the joy of a pinball game to children’s hospitals across our nation.

Project Pinball Charity began with the discovery of a broken pinball machine at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Southwest Florida. The pinball community and local benefactors raised the funds needed to restore the machine. Now headquartered in Bonita Springs, Project Pinball is a local non-profit organization that places pinball machines in children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses to provide recreational relief to patients, family members, and hospital staff. The organization began donating and maintaining its pinball machines since 2011, and have since become a nationwide organization with pinball machines in hospitals across the U.S. Project Pinball currently has 25 pinball machines in 23 hospitals across 15 different states.

Project pinball has developed a new STEM program (science, technology, engineering and math). It incorporated these topics with pinball as a learning tool. Project Pinball designed a learning guide that hospitals implement to get the kids out of bed and out of misery, so they can also learn something while having fun. This creates a hands-on experience where the kids can learn about the four major disciplines in education during their stay at a hospital. Executive assistant, Erica Benson has been working closely with Project Pinball founder, Daniel Spolar in getting the community aware of such a program existing. Project Pinball provides all the equipment, supplies, and regular maintenance at no cost. With every visit to a hospital, the results reveal just how powerful one pinball machine in the right setting can be.

Project Pinball Charity will host an event at Foster’s Grille in Gulf Coast Town Center on March 16. This charity event is open to the public and provides entertainment the entire family can enjoy. There will be pinball machines for friendly competition and the person with the highest score will receive a prize. During the event, 20 percent of your food and drink purchases from 5 – 9 PM, will go toward funding Project Pinball Charity.

In April, Project Pinball Charity will hold its “Pinball Under the Stars” event. There is a $40 entrance fee, which includes food and drinks, music, entry to the auctions and pinball machine games to play. All proceeds earned will benefit a pinball machine in the new Golisano’s Children’s Hospital. It is thanks to the generosity of the local community that allows Project Pinball Charity to expand its mission.

In April, Project Pinball Charity will hold its “Pinball Under the Stars” event. There is a $40 entrance fee, which includes food and drinks, music, entry to the auctions and pinball machine games to play. All proceeds earned will benefit a pinball machine in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital. It is thanks to the generosity of the local community that allows Project Pinball Charity to expand its mission.

Project Pinball Charity Group, Inc. is dedicated to providing recreational relief to small patients and their families as well as the physicians and nurses who care for them in children’s hospitals across the nation. A pinball machine is a powerful instrument that offers therapeutic benefits, which fit perfectly with the dynamic of a hospital environment. It promotes patient activity while also providing amusement.

To learn more about Project Pinball visit projectpinball.org. 

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