This summer will be an exciting time for the ESA Foundation (ESAF) and all of our partners in the video game community. After receiving more than 182 applications, we will announce the winners of our 2012-2013 Scholarship Program, which awards $3,000 each to 30 women and minority students pursuing a career in the video game industry. Additionally, later this summer we will announce the winners of our first Education Challenge Grant, which recognizes teachers who aim to enhance classroom learning through the use of innovative educational video and computer games.
Earlier this month, ESAF attended E3, the world's premier trade show for computer and video games and related products, to share the exciting work we and our grantees are doing to support and provide opportunities that make a difference in the lives of our country's youth. E3 2012 was another outstanding show and we were pleased to see many of you there.
In this edition of the ESAF newsletter, we highlight the successful unveiling of "The Art of Video Games" exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. We also discuss some notable developments in the efforts of our grantees, including ThanksUSA and its co-founders, Rachel and Kelsi Okun, who recently won the prestigious Jefferson Award for their commitment to community service.
As always, thank you for supporting our important programs and their ability to make a positive impact on today's youth. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
Vice President, ESA Foundation
ESA Foundation Launches Education Challenge Grant
On February 7, ESAF launched the Education Challenge Grant. The competition encourages teachers to integrate interactive software into school curricula. Three prizes in the amounts of $40,000, $20,000 and $15,000 will be awarded to educators who submit the most innovative grant entries, describing their plans for implementing the proposed lesson.
Challenge Grant partners, including The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, The Federation of American Scientists, The California Endowment and The Association for Middle Level Education, served as judges for the award. We will announce the winners of the Challenge Grant later this summer.
"The Art of Video Games" Exhibit Premiers at Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.
On March 16, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC unveiled "The Art of Video Games" exhibit, which explores the evolution of video game art and design over the past 40 years. The public determined the content of the exhibition through a vote, selecting 80 games and 20 different game systems to put on display. Using still images and graphics, video footage, interviews and new technologies, the exhibit tells the story of video games as an innovative art form and highlights their impact on our culture.
At the exhibit, ESAF presented two educational workshops:
- Video Games at Work, an in-depth look at how video games are revolutionizing areas such as healthcare, education, civics, journalism and national defense; and
- Game Change: Society and Culture, which illustrated how video games impact our society and culture, including their influence on academic research, science, art and education.
"The Art of Video Games" will begin a national tour of 10 American cities beginning in October. For more information on the exhibit and confirmed venues on tour click here.
The Smithsonian is also looking for knowledgeable game enthusiasts to volunteer for "The Art of Video Games" exhibit through September 30. For more information on how to get involved email AmericanArtGames@si.edu.
ThanksUSA Co-Founders Receive Prestigious Jefferson Award
ThanksUSA co-founders and ESAF grant recipients Rachel and Kelsi Okun received the Jefferson Award in March during a ceremony in New York City. Considered the "Nobel Prize for public service," the Jefferson Award honors individuals who have made a lasting impact and fundamental difference in their communities through volunteer service.
"It's such a huge step for the charity, not even for us," said Kelsi Okun. "For the charity to be recognized, hopefully that will help it go even further and gain new awareness and help it flourish even more."
The Okun sisters have raised nearly $7.5 million and awarded 2,500 need-based scholarships to the children and spouses of U.S. military veterans through their Treasure Hunt initiative, now in its seventh year.
ESAF announced earlier this year that it will continue its partnership with ThanksUSA by making its second three-year commitment to support Treasure Hunt and other scholarships.
You can find more information on the ThanksUSA Treasure Hunt and its award here.
ThanksUSA co-founders Rachel, 16, and Kelsi Okun,
with Jefferson Awards for public service.
iCivics has launched its first game for the iPad. Pocket Law Firm teaches players about the Bill of Rights and constitutional law; it is available for download on iTunes.
Screen shot from iCivics' Pocket Law Firm.