Game collection to benefit Children’s Hospital of Michigan

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published September 7, 2023

 Six-year-old Harper of Rochester Hills poses with Freddy the Teddy to prepare for the “Be a Game Changer’ collection drive to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Six-year-old Harper of Rochester Hills poses with Freddy the Teddy to prepare for the “Be a Game Changer’ collection drive to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Photo provided by Hope Brown


METRO DETROIT — For the eighth year in a row, Cornerstone Community Financial is making a donation of games to benefit two hospitals, including Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Troy.

Called the “Be a Game Changer” program, board games, toys, crafts and electronic games are collected in a drive organized by Cornerstone and shipped to children receiving medical care.

“Every September for the past 8 years, we’ve hosted a toy drive for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month,” explained Cornerstone’s chief experience officer, Jennifer Dickey. “We collect all kinds of games to give to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Toledo Children’s Hospital. With every donation, we match the donation so each donation is automatically doubled.”

Maureen Stys, the child life manager for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, said that a donation like this can have an incredible impact on a child’s experience while hospitalized.

“When children come into our hospital, they lose a lot of their sense of normalcy and control,” she said. “They have to be away from home and go through a lot of treatments. Having games or video games brings in a sense of normalcy. Hospitals can be scary and sterile and boring. This makes it all a little less intimidating and a little easier.”

Cornerstone has collected more than 10,000 items in its previous years. The items being sought can be found on an Amazon wish list on Cornerstone’s website.

“It (started) Sept. 1. It goes through the month. The games will be delivered in early October,” said Dickey. “(Those who wish to contribute) can visit There is a hospital wish list from Target, Walmart and Amazon. They order something off the wish list on the website. It is then shipped directly to the hospitals to minimize how many people have to handle the items.”

The collection is largely focusing on technology-based items this year, including controllers, games, and iTunes gift cards for games and apps.

“No matter what type of item a family or individual can donate, it makes a big difference,” said Stys. “Obviously, big ticket items like iPads or video games can make a big impact because we can use them over and over again, but smaller things like play doh or crayons can still help change a child’s perception of hospitals. If they are happier it helps their recovery and helps us in our efforts to treat them.”

“We receive direction from the hospital so they work with them to select the items that will be best utilized and the children will enjoy the most,” added Dickey.

Stys believes that the Be a Game Changer program is something that more hospitals and organizations should look at since it is not something many medical organizations have put a focus on in the past, but can truly help when planning a child’s care.

“They reached out to us and were interested in doing some larger scale donations. It’s been a few years where they’ve done these large-scale donations,” said Stys. “This is a cool thing because it’s relatively new for us, but we are really into it. We have a new technology specialist position, so we have a staff member specialized in helping utilize these items to the best of our ability with patients.”

“One of our goals is to always bring hope and comfort to the kids in our communities who are facing illness, as well as their families,” added Dickey. “Having these organizations to connect with and giving them age-appropriate distractions to them allows them to have some level of normalcy while they are going through a difficult time.”

Both Dickey and Stys hope that they will get even more donations than previous years and that others will see how beneficial a collection like this can be.

“We’re excited and hope the community gets involved with us,” Dickey said. “Hopefully, their mission aligns with Cornerstone’s mission to be a part of the communities we belong to. This is one way we can put our mission into action and it’s a great way for others to do the same.”