Inside The Circle: Our Student Needed More Than Mentoring Help

By Harold Goldberg

At the Circle, we have always taken quiet pride in helping underserved and homeless students. Recently, one of our Bronx students told me his brother was ill. That’s why his brother couldn’t attend a gaming field trip we held. Later, I sent an email to the educator with whom we recently taught our 10-week class about games and journalism.

The truth was tough to hear: it was more than simply being sick.

The young student had cancer.

He was in the hospital. Moments after reading this, I felt the New York Videogame Critics Circle should help in some way. It’s not in our bylaws, but that didn’t matter. Those bylaws state we’re supposed to teach, mentor, give scholarships and offer paid internships. We do all that with empathy, however. After speaking by phone with the young person’s mother through a translator, I asked our Critics Circle members if they could help.

We donated a brand new Nintendo Switch, a new headset, wireless earbuds, a fancy controller, a rare Legend of Zelda action figure – and raised a good amount of funds for the student. Then, mentor/writer Ronald Gordon traveled to his home and set up the game console, including downloading two offerings which Nintendo had donated. That included The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

Ronald said the student appeared weak. But was really happy about his gifts: We were all glad that he was home.

At a speaking event last week, I learned he has returned to the hospital for treatment.

The New York Videogame Critics Circle and its members will continue to help in any way we can. We can’t reveal his name because we want to protect his privacy. But we all wish him the most heartfelt “Get Well Soon!”

Journalist/Author Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle and the New York Game Awards.

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