A True Win-Win: How I Found the Positives in the Pandemic
It’s no secret that thousands, if not millions, of lives have changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Personally, my life as an entertainer flipped upside-down overnight, as did the lives of performers I’ve known for well over a decade. Though I couldn’t shake the itch to get back on stage, it wasn’t a lack of events that was keeping me up at night — it was how I was supposed to continue to give back through my non-profit organization, Win-Win Entertainment, if I could no longer physically donate my time to those in need.
For nearly 10 years, my Las Vegas nonprofit Win-Win Entertainment has brought entertainers, athletes, and celebrities to children’s hospitals across the nation. In the blink of an eye, our calendar was wiped clean of every single event we had planned for 2020… and beyond. But, like any good Vegas performer will tell you, the show must go on! So, let me explain how I was able to find the positives in the pandemic and create a true Win-Win situation for everyone involved.
What is Win-Win Entertainment, Anyway?
If you know me, then you’ve likely already heard your fair share about Win-Win Entertainment. But if you’re new here, welcome! Win-Win Entertainment is a national nonprofit corporation I spearhead with a fantastic team here in Southern Nevada. Though its official inception was in 2011, Win-Win Entertainment had been a dream of mine and my team members for quite some time.
Since day one, the ideology behind Win-Win has been simple: We believe that deep down, all people want to give back. All people (especially my Las Vegas friends!) are inherently generous. But between the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not hard to become distracted. So, Win-Win Entertainment was created to make it easy for people to give back!
We connect great causes with great entertainers, one show at a time. Our mission is to bring smiles to children who need them, and we do so by bringing athletes, entertainers, and celebrities to children’s hospitals across the country. For 10 years, we’ve witnessed the power of a smile! We’ve surpassed all expectations I’ve set for this little Las Vegas nonprofit, breaking metrics like our number of volunteer performers and events executed.
Then, 2020 happened. When COVID-19 swept the nation, it did more than send our country into lockdown. It essentially isolated the children currently staying at local hospitals from the rest of the outside world. And here at Win-Win, we knew we had to figure out a way to keep these kids smiling, even though we couldn’t physically see them.
Proof You Can Pivot to Find the Positive
While the rest of the world scrambled to buy toilet paper and Lysol, myself and the Win-Win Entertainment board raced to brainstorm a way to keep our routine hospital visits up and running. We knew that in-person visits were fully off the table, so we put our heads together to figure out a reasonable solution to this ever-looming problem. How could we continue to bring smiles to kids?
And that’s when it hit us: We didn’t have to change our mission. Our end goal was still the same. We just needed a new way to execute on the same goals. So, like the rest of the world, Win-Win went virtual! Our 100% volunteer-based team all dusted off their webcams to reimagine children’s hospital shows in a new, digital format.
Suddenly, our Las Vegas nonprofit was skyrocketing! We began to establish recurring weekly or monthly programs at children’s hospitals nationwide, like the Children’s Hospital of Nevada at UMC and MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in Charleston. Since COVID, all of our visits have become “virtual visits” over Zoom and similar platforms.
Win-Win Entertainment has even created special moments between entertainers that have been just as exciting for the adults as they were for the kids, like this exchange between myself and illusionist Matias Letelier. Together, every Win-Win contributor managed to pivot to find the positive — and we’re confident there’s even more positivity in store!
Where We Are, and Where We’re Going
Today, Win-Win Entertainment is backed by more than 150 volunteer entertainers and we’re proud to announce that we’ve donated 5,516 performance hours! All of our performers are knockout, all-age entertainers who understand the nuances behind interacting with children and their families. Our current roster includes magicians, jugglers, musicians, ventriloquists, and comedians, just to name a few!
To ensure the health and safety of our volunteer performers, as well as those we visit, the Win-Win Entertainment board has made the decision to provide virtual visits exclusively through 2021. We plan on resuming our regular in-person visits, where safe and appropriate, in 2022. Moving forward, we’re beyond excited to know we have two ways to reach children in hospitals!
Depending on where the hospital is located and where the performers are located, we can offer both in-person and virtual shows. The addition of virtual shows has dramatically increased our outreach already — our projected smiles given this year have leapt from 3,000 to 30,000! We’re just getting started, too. Just this past week, I was able to connect with our new program partners at the Children’s Hospital Colorado!
Giving Back is Always a Win-Win Opportunity
This past year has been many things — uncertain, scary, and lonely to say the least. I could not be prouder of my Las Vegas nonprofit team, and all the performers who’ve donated their time, for continuing to bring smiles to those who need them. When we were able to pivot to find the positive, it reminded me of just how much giving back my time will always be a win-win opportunity.
If you’re looking to get involved with my Las Vegas nonprofit Win-Win Entertainment, now is your time! We invite you to pivot with us. Click here to donate to Win-Win, or sign up today to become a virtual performer for one of our upcoming shows. Trust me, you’ll never regret finding the time to give another person a smile.