Young people have the genius, desire, and energy to build and design a better world. iThrive Studios support their cognitive and creative ability to do so.
iThrive Studios turn the spaces where young people (ages 13 to 24) gather to connect and learn into generative ones that support their reflection, leadership, creativity, and social and emotional health.
Led by adolescent mental health and game design experts, iThrive Studios support agency and self-advocacy in teens and young adults, inviting them to create games with their peers that voice their perspectives on the systems they navigate and explore what matters to them.
iThrive Studios invites participants to surface needs and challenges, cope with the emotions they evoke, and act toward realizing solutions that respond to them. This Surface-Cope-Act cycle engages teens and young adults in social and emotional skill-building, systems thinking, and game design and design thinking as they apply their strengths and work in their genius.
- Game Design and Design Thinking: Teens and young adults are exposed to user-centered design thinking approaches that deepen their ability to empathize with others and help them view games as systems with roles, rules, and interactions that can be manipulated to change players' experiences and outcomes.
- Social and Emotional Skill-Building: Social and emotional learning experts invite and coach teens and young adults to uncover and channel their emotions into the expressive, interactive, and empathy-building games they co-design for various audiences (i.e., peers, policymakers, educators, etc.).
- Systems Thinking: Young people transfer their understanding of games to a deeper understanding of the real-life systems that impact them, learning how those systems can be changed to support their thriving and the thriving of their communities.
FUGEES FAMILY, INC. (ATLANTA, GA)
In December 2021, Luma Mufleh of Fugees Family, Inc. approached iThrive and shared a desire to co-create with her students resources that highlight their expertise, build empathy, and ultimately, support schools across the nation that are accepting incoming communities of refugee youth. The three-day iThrive Studio we held with Fugees Family, Inc. led to the creation of Our Threads, a question card game co-developed by their students and available for purchase here.
READ MORE ABOUT ITHRIVE STUDIO: FUGEES FAMILY
SEED INSTITUTE (BOSTON, MA)
The SEED Institute, a collaborative effort between Transition HOPE, iThrive Games, and BMA Ten Point Coalition, was a game design studio led by youth of color (ages 14 to 28) who used their experiences in and adjacent to the cradle-to-prison pipeline to create games that depict inequities and advocate for social change. The tabletop, desktop, and virtual reality (VR) games and game prototypes SEED designers created were developed using the iThrive Studio model. Their award-winning board game, The Run Around, was featured in The Boston Globe in September 2021.
STRONGER TOGETHER (ATLANTA, GA)
Over their winter break in 2019, eight middle and high school students came together at the Marietta Museum of History for a three-day iThrive Studio hosted with Stronger Together. Over the course of three sessions, teens created games that reflect their perspectives on the racial discrimination they encounter in the public schools they attend. The teens who participated in the iThrive Studio created three game prototypes and shared them with their community to continue the conversation.
THE URBAN ASSEMBLY (ONLINE)
The COVID-19 pandemic radically shifted life for young people, prompting a new, urgent need for social and emotional supports that could meet them where they are in an unprecedentedly uncertain time. For the first time, in Spring 2020, iThrive Studio went virtual, engaging students from The Urban Assembly in an interactive co-design experience. Over the course of six sessions, the students brainstormed ideas for a game that would document and share their perspectives living through the pandemic. Their co-design resulted in Blood Moon, a choose-your-own-adventure game that can be downloaded and played here.
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PLAY PROGRAM AT UVA'S FRANK BATTEN SCHOOL FOR PUBLIC POLICY (CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA)
In Summer 2022, we partnered with the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy to co-host the Policy Leadership Advocacy by Youth, or PLAY, Program on the University of Virginia campus. With funding from the Jefferson Trust, 50 teens experienced a weeklong exploration of policy that featured resume-building workshops and lunch-and-learns with real-world policy leaders. Each day began with an iThrive Studio workshop where teens dug into the social issues they care about and the big questions they have in the space of a game. The game prototypes they created each center a challenge and possible solutions.
MADISON PARK TECHNICAL VOCATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL (BOSTON, MA)
Madison Park Technical Vocational High School's unique approach to learning entails alternating weeks of academics and technical education. For two weeks of their vocational training, 18 high school juniors participated in an iThrive Studio, where they expanded their understanding of serious game design. Together, they co-designed four games that touched on sleep deprivation, teen mental health, the weighty decision-making that life demands of them often, and the daily challenges they face getting to school on time and safely.
READ MORE ABOUT ITHRIVE STUDIO: madison park
SUMMER ACADEMY AT STUDIENSTIFTUNG DES DEUTSCHEN VOLKES (OLANG, ITALY)
Using history as a guide and game design as a lever for imagining and calibrating ideas, 20 university students took part in an iThrive Studio in Olang, Italy, hosted by iThrive's Susan E. Rivers, Ph.D. and History Co:Lab's Fernande Raine, Ph.D. at Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. There, students experienced and learned how game design, play, and teaching history in a humanity-centered way supports young people in showing up proactively in the world and engage constructively with it.
Please feel free to contact the iThrive Games team with any questions or to request more information.