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Youths Receive Grants for Social Change Video Games!

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

20 recipients to present video game ideas to policy makers in Washington DC

WASHINGTON, DC – December 2, 2013 – The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) today announced the recipients of the ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship. The 20 ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellows, aged 16 to 24, were awarded grants for creating video games that seek solutions to problems in their communities.

“At the core of the ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship is the belief that using technology for social change or career paths is essential to not only the advancement of minority communities, but America as a nation,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF. “Through this creative partnership with the ESA, we are engaging youth on their terms, through video games. The link from playing a video game to developing one to computer coding, cybersecurity and other skills gap areas is evident and that’s also what we are trying to leverage through this program.”

The Video Game Innovation Fellows, and their games, were selected based on their vision, creativity, and potential impact on their community. On December 4, the Fellows will present their ideas to influencers and policymakers in Washington, DC after flying in on Southwest Airlines, the official airline of LOFT and HHF.

“The ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship shows how games are more than a means of entertainment, but also a valuable tool for change in our society,” said Rich Taylor, senior vice president of communications and industry affairs at the ESA. “We are proud to offer this opportunity that will help create real change in minority communities through the unique platform only video games can provide.”

The following is the schedule of activities for the Fellows during their trip to Washington DC.

  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Gaming for Good: Redefining Innovation and STEM for Youth Senate Visitor Center Room 202-203, Capitol Hill
  • 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – White House Briefing, Eisenhower Executive Office Building
  • 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – ESA/HHF-LOFT Reception in Washington, DC.

The Fellows were selected on their vision, creativity, and potential impact on their community.  The video game ideas included a Greek mythological adventure to teach math to grade schools students, a hero who fights his way through SAT vocabulary words, and a game which educates kids how to write lyrics through Twitter.  Each of the 20 Fellows will receive a $1,000 grant to further their ideas and will be tracked by the LOFT team to sustain the impact of their effort.

Joining ESA and HHF on the effort was Globaloria, Black Girls Code, BK Nation, BASE (Black Association of Scientist and Engineers, Computer Science Teacher’s Association, and Gamepress.

About ESA

ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers, including conducting business and consumer research, providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property and technology/e-commerce issues, managing a global anti-piracy program, owning and operating E3, and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com or follow us on Twitter at @RichatESA or @ESAGovAffairs.

About Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Leaders on Fast Track (LOFT)

LOFT is HHF’s award-winning, leadership and workforce development program focused on America’s “priority fields” including STEM and innovation.  Tens of thousands of students and young professionals are connected to each other; prepared through trainings, priority-field-tailored symposia, workshops, and Charlas; and hundreds are placed into internships, mentorships, fellowships and full-time positions with Fortune 100 companies and government agencies.  Visit www.LOFTinnovation.org.  Join and follow LOFT on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/hhfloft/ and Twitter – @LOFTInstitute.

HHF was established by the White House in 1987 and believes that through innovation across all fields that Latinos are the leaders of today, not tomorrow.  HHF also promotes Latino cultural pride, accomplishment, and the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions.  Visit www.HispanicHeritage.org.  Join and follow HHF on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/hispanicheritage and Twitter @HHFoundation.

The 2013 Video Game Innovation Fellows are:

Geraldine Agredo, 15
Game – Animal Frenzy: Identify animals in Spanish for bilingual education
Attends The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria
Hometown of Astoria, New York

Ashely Alicea, 23
Game – Pencils Down: See the World Through a Teacher’s Eyes
Attended Ithaca College
Hometown of Dorado, Puerto Rico

Mia Benavidez, 17
Game – Cards for the Cause: Applications for Literacy
Attends Robert E. Lee High School
Hometown of San Antonio, Texas

Asia Bryant, 21
Game – Urban RGP Create Your Environment: Community Awareness
Attends Vassar College
Hometown of Newark, New Jersey

Marcus Cisneros, 17
Game – College-To-Do List- College Preparation
Attends Watsonville High School
Hometown of Watsonville, California

Terrence Dalbert, 22
Game – Top Recruit: Navigating Senior Year
Attends Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hometown of Augusta, Georgia

Claudia Flores, 23
Game – Any Hour is the Right Time: Community Service
Attends Santa Clara University
Hometown of San Jose, California

John Funtanilla, 22
Game – Founder’s Quest: How to Build Your Own Non-Profit
Attends San Francisco State University
Hometown of San Francisco, California

Ama Koranteng, 17
Game – Transform-a-City: Addressing Ethnic Inequality
Attends New Albany High School
Hometown of New Albany, Ohio

Daniela Leguisamo, 15
Game – Animal Frenzy: Identify Animals in Spanish for Bilingual Education
Attends The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria
Hometown of Jackson Heights, New York

Nicu Listana, 20
Game – Founder’s Quest: How to Build Your Own Non-Profit
Attends San Francisco State University
Hometown of San Francisco, California

Morelia Lopez, 17
Game – College-To-Do List- College Preparation
Attends Watsonville High School
Hometown of Watsonville, California

Bayonia Marshall, 20
Game – Baby Rush: Addressing Teen Pregnancy and Single Parenting
Attends Iona College
Hometown of Oxon Hill, MD

Sade Mcintosh, 22
Game – Restaurant RockStar: Food and Nutrition Education
Attends York College
Hometown of Far Rockaway, New York

Aaron Michael-Blackman, 22
Game – Where’s the Money: Financial Literacy
Attends Howard University
Hometown of St. Louis, Missouri

Jesus Rios, 22
Game – JFG Haiku Hunt: Education about the Japanese Friendship Gardens in San Diego
Attends University of California, San Diego
Hometown of Calexico, California

Michelle Rivas-Molina, 15
Game – Animal Frenzy: Identify Animals in Spanish for Bilingual Education
Attends The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria
Hometown of Jamaica, New York

Demetric Sanders, 24
Game – Bar Up!: Teaching Kids to Write through Lyrics and Twitter
Attended Stanford University
Hometown of Portland, Oregon

Sophie Sheeline, 19
Game – Doctor Game: Learn How to Diagnose
Attends Dartmouth University
Hometown of Hillsboro, California

Fatima Zenine Villanueva, 22
Game – DOMUS: Life from Perspectives of a Homeless Individual
Attends Bergen Community College
Hometown of Ridgefield Park, New Jersey

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