August 10, 2020 – On a typical day at Helix eSports’ Patriot Place location, gamers of all ages compete and enjoy a wide selection of games with players from around the world. But the past few days, there’s been a different type of programming happening at Helix.

The 18,000 square foot gaming center and social hub has hosted over 30 students ranging from fourth grade to high school for daily educational workshops reinforcing technological, teamwork and presentation skills over the past week. Each of these students is a member of The BASE, a Roxbury-based organization that combines athletic training and competition with education and career resources to empower its student-athletes to achieve their full potential both on and off the field. Community leader Robert Lewis Jr. founded The BASE in 2013 to shift the national mindset and reimagine pathways to success for urban youth.

Helix eSports founder and owner Murphy Vandervelde has been involved with The BASE since early 2018, when his friend’s organization, Mass Youth Committed to Winning, joined forces with them.

The BASE serves disadvantaged, inner-city youth and creates a platform of learning, responsibility, accountability and teamwork,” Vandervelde said. “Robert Lewis has done an unbelievable job of creating an organization and a culture that these kids buy into and they want to be part of it for the right reasons. I’ve always felt that it’s a really important partnership to have to give these kids opportunity and exposure to things that they ordinarily wouldn’t have.”

As part of this continued relationship, Vandervelde and Helix are donating and installing 14 complete computer stations loaded with educational software to The BASE, creating a “mini-Helix” technology center at their Roxbury facility. Building on this initiative, Helix’s Patriot Place location is in the midst of hosting a two week program entitled “The BASE Way” to familiarize BASE students with the technology before the new center opens at The BASE in mid-August. The program began the first week of August, and will wrap up on Friday, August 14.

“This two week program is basically to give a big enough swath of BASE kids exposure to the equipment and technology, so these kids then are able to teach their friends how to use the new BASE technology center,” Vandervelde said.

Students attending The BASE Way have been immersed in educational programming focusing on creating responsible social media content; how corporate brands and logos are created; how to create a personal brand, computer graphics and understanding the esports and egaming industries. They’ve learned and built technological, teamwork and presentation skills. Additionally, as part of the ongoing initiative to empower BASE youth, Vandervelde and Helix have hired and trained BASE alumni to act as counselors during the two week program, and staff the new BASE center once it opens in mid-August.

“We don’t want Helix just to be known as a gaming center, we want to be an integral part of the community,” Vandervelde said. “This program and new center at the BASE is about opportunity and giving these kids exposure to tools that they ordinarily wouldn’t have. It’s about equaling the playing field for these kids and giving them equitable access to let their talents shine.”

For more information about The BASE, visit their website at https://thebase.org/.