A high school senior started a nonprofit to play video games with sick kids in honor of his original gaming partner: his dad. Nick Priest inherited his love of video games from his dad, who passed away when Nick was six. That experience led him to found “Nick’s Power of Play,” a nonprofit where he and other volunteers game with kids in hospitals or who are dealing with someone else in their lives battling a serious illness. The goal is to put a smile on the face of someone who needs one and to pay tribute to his dad and the legacy he left behind. Nick wanted to spread the love of video games his dad gave him and connect with other kids who are experiencing what he went through.
Nick says playing video games helped him grow closer to his dad and helped comfort him after his dad’s passing. Even as he lost his gaming partner, people stepped in to make sure he “could still find joy in gaming.” Those people made a difference in Nick’s life and recovery from grief at a young age.
Now, Nick wants to be that person who is there for kids going through their own hard time.
“I would like to help bring happiness to kids who are in very difficult situations,” he wrote. “I believe it could give these children a little hope, just like it did for my father and me. It’s something that I wish that I would have had after my dad passed away, I would have loved to have a teenage boy to play Mario with, that would have been awesome. That’s what I’m trying to provide to these kids. I want to be there for them in the hardest part of their lives, and just try to let them forget about it for a while.”
COVID forced Nick to schedule his play sessions remotely, and now one of his biggest goals now is spreading the word to other hospitals around the country.
“When you hop on with me, or you hop on with a volunteer, it’s not going to be about that at all. It’s going to be, ‘Alright, let’s build this huge house in Minecraft. And we’re going to build a mansion for an hour, to help them forget about it for a little.”