KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is teaming up with crewmates from the Kansas City Pioneers to find the imposter on Saturday.
The Mayor and the professional esports team are joining forces for a live “Among Us” Twitch stream to support the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City.
The Pioneers and the Boys and Girls Club announced a partnership to help open the horizons of the esports industry in Kansas City and educate provide access resources to youth and parents.
“We see the potential of esports to really provide jobs, provide young people with skills and tools they’ve never had before,” Sam Kulikov, Founder/Owner and Chief Creative Officer of the Pioneers, said. “We want to bring those benefits we want to bring those resources back to our people.”
The goal of the collaboration is to bring awareness to another avenue to help meet Mayor Lucas’ goal of dropping crime rates and the Boys and Girls Club goal of helping kids reach their potential.
“If we’re gonna build something we think is gonna change the world,” Kulikov said. “We wanna do it with our community. The people that built us and subsequently give back to them as we continue to grow.”
Two things the Pioneers say fit right in with the esports industry.
“We’re not only working with Boys and Girls Club to educate the youth about the viability of pursuing a career in esports, but at the same time, educating the local Kansas city community through the platform of the mayor’s office to talk about how esports is here to stay,” Lissa Leibson, Chief of Staff for the Pioneers, said. “Colleges and universities are starting to offer esports scholarships, just as you would for a traditional sport. So with this partnership, we don’t want lack of awareness to be a barrier to entry for these students.”
The team hopes to educate people so they understand that you don’t need to be a professional gamer to be involved in esports and gaming. You can be an engineer, content creator, artist, etc.
Esports have been on the rise over the past few years, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic required people to stay inside for extended periods of time.
Kulikov hopes that through these partnerships, they can eliminate the stigma around playing video games.
“When you’re a parent, you think, ‘Oh, they’re just playing some stupid game in their room for 6 hours,” Kulikov said. “As one of our partners always says, ‘If your kid was out playing 6 hours of basketball on the driveway would you have a problem? No you wouldn’t.'”
He also called esports the “greatest vehicle for social and economic change since the internet.”
A bold statement that he and the Pioneers believe in and with help from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Kansas City and the mayor’s office, they believe they can back it up.
“These kids have been telling us for 20 years that they love video games and that it’s a part of their life and we’ve tried to hold back,” Kulikov said. “No, we need to get them what they want and get out of their way.”
“Not only can we help kids find jobs and careers and to build them up to be more successful, but we can teach them very, very priceless skills at a young age; leadership teamwork, discipline.”
The stream featuring the Pioneers, Mayor Lucas, Dr. Dred Scott and Jamel Malone can be viewed on Twitch at 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 14.