Skillsgapp, a company that develops free-to-play mobile gaming apps that help middle and high school-aged+ youth achieve life-changing career awareness and localized pathway access, as well as develop the soft skills necessary to pursue jobs in skills-based industries through game-changing play, was awarded at the Games for Change 2022 Festival held in New York City, two distinct accolades for its groundbreaking Tobacco-use prevention game, BeatNic Boulevard.
For nearly two decades, the Games for Change Festival has been a leading destination for developers, educators, researchers, students, and other game-changers who want to make an impact through video games or immersive media. Skillsgapp's next-generation educational technology stood out, in being awarded 'Best Health Game of the Year' by an esteemed panel of judges at The Global Festival and also the 'People's Choice Award' as presented by Facebook Gaming.
“BeatNic Boulevard,” a play-on-words to symbolize defeating nicotine addiction, is an educational, simulation-based, and free-to-play mobile game, wherein students learn the importance of living a tobacco-free lifestyle. They are taught throughout the program about the impact of tobacco-use and vaping and how the sale of nicotine products also negatively affects surrounding schools and communities.
The mobile app was designed, according to the technology's founders, to encourage active participation and long-term engagement in tobacco prevention activities through gaming.
“'Big Tobacco' spends big money on vaping products, both in manufacturing them and marketing them as a safer alternative to smoking. We're privileged to have founded a platform through gamification technology, for parents, teachers and young people to learn and fight back,” explained skillsgapp Co-Founder and CEO, Tina Zwolinski. “We put the players in direct control of their town's health and happiness in the game - It's an exercise in 'responsibility through empowerment', one which speaks to our overarching mission and one which we're pleased to see celebrated at Games For Change.”
The game was first deployed as a special project for youth within the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools (SBCSS) Tobacco-Use Prevention Education (TUPE) Program. According to the 2019-20 California Student Tobacco Survey, over 10% of San Bernardino County's high school students are currently using a tobacco product, and out of this demographic, nearly 9% of them are using an electronic smoking device, such as a vape or e-cigarette.
In response, BeatNic Boulevard utilized content from Stanford University's School of Medicine and Tobacco Prevention Toolkit as developed by Dr. Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Stanford REACH Lab, to teach students between grades 6-12 basic refusal skills, how to share important tobacco prevention messaging and how to encourage activities in their schools and communities that can foster tangible and local policy change, in doing so, supporting existing public awareness efforts to address health disparities among vulnerable populations and reduce tobacco and vape use.
“If the games are fun, kids will play them. The more they play, the more they learn and ultimately, win,” added skillsgapp Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Cynthia Jenkins. “From staging rallies in the park and switching out pro-vape billboards, to picking up cartridges and cigarette butts off the street, BeatNic Boulevard players are immersed in an advanced simulation designed to take down nicotine utilization and abuse within their community. And they might meet a few zombies along the way! We look forward to partnering with other counties and states to deploy this game in order to help educate students about the dangers inherent to vaping and regarding all tobacco products”.
Skillsgapp develops free-to-play mobile gaming apps that help middle and high school-aged+ youth achieve life-changing career awareness and localized pathway access, as well as develop the soft skills necessary to pursue jobs in skills-based industries through game-changing play.
To find out more about skillsgapp's gamified workforce development through mobile apps and much more, visit https://skillsgapp.com or contact us at 864.469.9340.
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