Local 'Warriors' have laid claim to fighting for righteous causes – via video games.
Game Warriors: Gaming for a Cause got its start in 2007, after the founder's father passed.
"I began to reflect on my life and where it was heading," said Charles Bell. "As a result of that time of reflection, the thought of a Game Warriors FEC (Family Entertainment Center) came about.
"One of the features as I was creating in my business plan was taking the small tournaments that were being done and turning them into large public events to raise money for various charities," he continued. "My goal was to build the FEC and fund the tournaments through it, but starting a company like that takes a large amount of capital to do."
Even though he has not seen his dream of a family entertainment center realized, Bell was compelled to move forward with the tournament/fundraising portion of his business plan.
"In 2011, we held our first tournament fund- raiser for a local youth group," Bell said. "Within two months later, another tournament for a local organization that was raising awareness and funds for anti-bullying was held. As a result Game Warriors: Gaming for a Cause was formed."
Game Warriors is currently planning its next tournament, as well as taking the steps to become a recognized non-profit organization.
"Over the past year, we have looked into how to improve our format and how to make this a better fundraiser for a wide variety of causes," Bell said. "At Game Warriors: Gaming for a Cause, it is our goal to put the fun back into fundraising."
Game Warriors: Gaming for a Cause's mission is to bring the worlds of video gaming and charitable giving together.
"We strive to make an enjoyable event, which also raises money and awareness for various worthy causes both locally and nationally," said Bell. "This format also introduces a younger audience to the importance of giving to charity, and the charities get an opportunity to reach an audience that they might not have had before. It is a win for everyone involved."
Bell feels the large number of causes can sometimes go under the radar.
"There are so many great and worthy causes out there, and some of them that aren't really known about and others that everyone knows about," he said. "To us, it is just as important to raise awareness of these great organizations as it is to raise money, because if the awareness is there then the more likely the funds are to be there."
Through video game tournaments, raffles and other activities, Game Warriors hopes to raise money for a wide variety of charities.
An upcoming tournament will benefit Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) and will be held at the Forestry Building at Webster Parish Fairgrounds.
In an effort to keep a level playing field and find the best all-around gamer, games are chosen at random from genres including First Person Shooters (FPS), Fighting, Racing and Sports. The systems are Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
Participants are charged a $10 entry fee and get a shot at a $100 gift card for first place and a $50 gift card for second place.
In addition to the tournament, rubber bracelets are being sold.
For more information, find Game Warriors on facebook at www.facebook.com/GameWarriorsGamingForACause.
Look for more information on RAINN and the tournament in a future issue of the Minden Press-Herald, at http://www.rainn. org/ and at www.rainnmakers.rainn.org/GameWarriors.