Nicole Steiner knows the healing effect of board games.
Steiner's mother suffered a fall that affected her mobility for an extended period of time, and playing games became a source of fun and social contact for her mother during her convalescence. That experience led Steiner to develop “A Game for You” in 2014. The program has collected more than $40,000 worth of used board games, books and puzzles for donation to local hospitals, special-needs classrooms, veterans' organizations, homeless shelters and assisted-living facilities in 15 municipalities across Colorado.
“Games, books and puzzles help stimulate mental and social interaction which can lead to mental, emotional and physical healing,” the Legend High School senior said.
Her efforts earned her national recognition, as she and 100 other students from across the United States were honored at the 21st annual Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program on May 1. The event was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, hosted by award-winning actress Hilary Swank. Steiner received a silver medallion, a $1,000 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
Steiner also began a project called “A Journal for You,” which provides journals for counseling offices in each of the nine high schools in Douglas County. Writing in the journals is intended to help students alleviate stress.
Steiner said her experience benefiting from the kindness of volunteers during her mother's recovery inspired her to look for ways to help others who are going through tough times.
“Many people helped my family with meals, shopping and childcare,” Steiner said. “I am inspired by those who served us.”