„Careful, this is going to be noisy!” Mr Täubert warns me, before he opens the door. We hear children screaming happily, and a couple of small human beings are running around the hallway. “Padded cell” reads the sign over one door, “Homework room” another. The children in this area are between 6 and 12 years old. They all have lots of energy, and they are in an ideal environment to let off some steam.
We are at “Die Arche” in Berlin Hellersdorf. In this project, children and teens can spend their free time, regardless of their background, religious beliefs or social status. While being at die Arche, they are constantly supported by social workers, without being limited by them. Die Arche is a Christian initiative, with the aim to make children strong for life. They achieve this through a place that is full of tolerance, openness, care and continuity. But also through clear rules, that everybody is committed to.
I visited late afternoon, it was the last school day before a two-week holiday. Die Arche was still fully busy, none of the children in the three groups showed any signs of wanting to go home. Mr Täubert, who works as a donor liaison at die Arche, told me this is normal. The children see die Arche as their second home. They are building lasting relationships there, that for many are probably equally as important as their families. Die Arche gives them locally prepared lunch, help with homework, but also a place to play, run around, read or just cuddle and chill. It is a wonderful place, ideal for children. And safe.
We, the organizers of G-Fleet, wanted to give something back this year. It was our fifth anniversary, and we wanted to find out if our community was ready to help in real life, with real projects. Boy, were they ever! Our preliminary poll, asking which charity to support, already got some great responses. And a clear majority of votes for die Arche. And at G-Fleet, donations were coming in by the bucketful (or by credit card). Our Silent Auction, the charity buttons, and our “Swag for Good”, supplemented by a few very generous donors, brought a whopping total amount, that I had never expected. We were able to give a full six thousand Euros to die Arche! And when I visited them a couple of weeks later, I could see that we had picked just the right place to help.
That leaves me to say a big, fat thank you! Thank you to our community, our guests who were so eager to donate. Thank you CCP, for your support of our event, but also your donations to the Silent Auction. The “Berlyn” shirt from CCP Falcon and the “well-worn Fedora” from Senior GM Huggin were the bomb! A very big thank you also goes to Caseking, who donated the majority of the gaming chairs after hearing about our charity drive. Also thank you to the players who donated to the Silent Auction, both the Minmatar painting and the TQ CPU have added substantially to our grand total. And then, there are a few people that deserve a very special shout-out. The incredible Greygal and her charity buttons. Insidious Sainthood, who relentlessly drove everyone to donate even more. And last but very much not least Lov. Not only did she spontaneously volunteer at G-Fleet. And was a huge help running the event. Afterwards, she contacted me. And simply wrote: whatever the final amount for die Arche is. I will top it up to the next full thousand. Wow! What an amazing community. We are very proud to be a part of it!