Photo courtesy stock.xchng
Photo courtesy stock.xchng

Brighton Heights resident Jennifer Shaffer and a group of her gamer friends are proving that girls who love video games (and live on the Northside!) are not only awesome, but dedicated and conscientious.

The weekend of Friday, Aug. 20 (and possibly beyond that), Jennifer and her friends will gather at her home and play through 11 video games without stopping in the hopes of raising $30,000 for UNICEF.

It works like this: People all around the world donate money to UNICEF in whatever amount they can or want to give. Donations unlock levels of the video games. Each time a level is unlocked, the girls pledge to beat it—no matter how long it takes.

“If we get all the donations, we’ll play until every level is finished,” Jennifer said. That’s 700 levels to beat!

You can make a donation for UNICEF through Levels of Love at http://inside.unicefusa.org/goto/levels_for_love.

As of this writing, 0 of the 700 levels have been unlocked, but the website only went live yesterday. The girls are using social media and word of mouth to advertise the event. You can support them by donating or spreading the word via Facebook or Twitter using the share buttons at www.levelsforlove.com.

Games include classics like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Super Mario Bros. to newer gamer favorites like zombie survival game Left 4 Dead and puzzle game Portal.

Jennifer is most looking forward to playing Super Mario World. “It’ll bring back a lot of nostalgia from when everybody was young and playing the game.”

She chose UNICEF because she wanted the charity to be for children, and because the organization put so much money into Haiti, and is called on to help during catastrophes all the time.

Another video game charity event inspired Jennifer to start Levels for Love. The Annual Mario Marathon, run by three male gamers, has raised more than $120,000 for the charity Child’s Play in three years.

After watching the Mario Marathon for two years, “I finally felt like I was ready to organize my own thing,” Jennifer said.

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