An Interview with Rob Kalajian
“…a charity that focuses on reducing the stigma of mental health issue and also provides support for those who need it…-Robert C Kalajian Jr
Rob took the time to talk with me on September 12th, 2019 about the board game hobby and Take This, an organization that helps with mental health and anxiety that occur in conventions and other settings.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Rob, thank you so much for meeting with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.
Rob: I’m Rob, a web dev by day a game reviewer by “every other time.” I’ve been gaming since I was young, starting with games like Sorry, Monopoly, etc… Eventually my parents would find games like Fireball Island, Dragon Strike, and Battle Masters that REALLY caught my interest. From there it was a quick jump to AD&D 2nd Edition, then on to the Magic, the World of Darkness games, 40k, and on to the hobby games most of us enjoy today.
TheCharityBoardGamer: How did you get into reviewing? What led to this path?
Rob: A little over 10 years ago I answered a call from Yehuda Berlinger, who was looking for writers to help create more content for Purple Pawn. I started writing short news articles, and did some reviews. Over the years of writing there, going to conventions, and making new contacts I had more games to review than I knew what to do with. Since Purple Pawn was mostly a news site I started my own site, A Pawn’s Perspective, to focus on reviews. Eventually it grew to the point where I moved on from Purple Pawn and started focusing solely on it.
TheCharityBoardGamer: That’s amazing.
Rob: It’s been quite the ride.
TheCharityBoardGamer: What is your favorite game currently?
Rob: I’m a huge fan of Dragon Dice. It’s an older game that I rediscovered was still in production a few years back.
TheCharityBoardGamer: So, tell me about Take This.
Rob: Take This is a charity that focuses on reducing the stigma of mental health issue and also provides support for those who need it, specifically in the gaming community and industry.It’s a charity that hits close to home, and I’ve seen first hand some of the great work they do, particularly with AFK rooms at conventions.
Rob: AFK is a term from the video game work that means “Away From Keyboard”These rooms are quiet, safe spaces that people can go to and get away from the noise, stress, and crowds of a convention.
I first found out about them a few years ago when they started a charity promotion with Wyrmwood Gaming. They sold hardwood shields with an engraved sword on them to help raise money. https://wyrmwoodgaming.com/products/box-of-hope/
TheCharityBoardGamer: Now you have stated that this charity hits close to home. Would you be willing to elaborate?
Rob: Personally, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I have other family members who deal with mental health issues as well.
TheCharityBoardGamer: So how can one help an organization like this?
Rob: You can always make donations at https://www.takethis.org/get-involved/donate/, but you can also get involved volunteering at AFK rooms. They list a few other ways at https://www.takethis.org/get-involved/
TheCharityBoardGamer: This is great information. Thank you for sharing about yourself and Take This. I believe it’s important for the community to help each other and this sounds like a great charity to support.
Rob: Thanks for having me.