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Youth Video Game Design Program Launches to Provide Opportunities for Underserved Youth

Two-Year Game Design Program Builds Healthy Communities through Teamwork and Creativity


Oakland, Calif. – The California Endowment has partnered with the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and E-Line Media to implement a two-year youth game design program ‘Project A-Game’ in Oakland and in Sacramento, California. The video program will provide an opportunity to create and operate a working game studio in their communities, immersing them in a rewarding, learning-based activity that will support healthy and productive lives.

The California Endowment, the Entertainment Software Association and E-Line media were joined by California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. at a press event announcing the partnership behind Project A-Game.

Project A-Game taps into the natural passion of youth for playing and making games, connecting this passion with critical 21st century skills: science, technology, engineering arts, and math learning (STEAM), and helps guide them to interest-driven career pathways. The project gives students the opportunity to express themselves creatively in a supportive and knowledgeable environment, strengthening their engagement in the community, while challenging them to be leaders.

Funding will be provided by The California Endowment and ESA with technical and logistical support provided by E-Line Media. ESA’s financial contribution comes from the attorneys’ fees paid by the state of California for ESA’s successful defense of First Amendment rights of gamers and game creators in June 2010.

These pilot youth-run game studios, located at Youth UpRising in Oakland and Salvation Army in Sacramento, will serve as a venue for participants to develop game-making skills such as programming, digital design, illustration, animation, visual storytelling, and project management. The studios will also provide an opportunity for youth to collaborate in the creation of original computer and video games. As youth develop experience as game makers, they will also have an opportunity to serve as peer mentors for newer members of the studio. These mentoring opportunities can help build the leadership and collaboration skills that will be critical for their successful pursuit of 21st Century careers.

“The California Endowment is committed to finding innovative partners and methods to bring opportunities for improving the overall health of California neighborhoods,” said Kathlyn Mead, executive vice president and COO of The California Endowment. “Youth UpRising and Salvation Army provide a safe and supportive environment where young people can have fun while learning vital math and science skills. Project A-Game uses these skills so that youth can envision future STEM career opportunities for themselves.”

The California Endowment, through the Health Happens Here campaign and the Building Healthy Communities initiative, has teamed up with communities throughout the state – including East Oakland and South Sacramento-- to help improve the physical, social, and economic environments, and thereby promote the health of children and families in those communities. Through this program, the Endowment is investing in communities by providing children access to technology that encourages science, technology, engineering and math learning

“Video games can improve lives through advanced education, training, and skill-building and we are proud to help create the next generation of potential video game designers, graphic artists, and computer engineers,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents the U.S. computer and video game industry. “This is a positive and impactful community program that celebrates and advances the Golden State’s spirit of innovation, especially in the wake of the state’s misguided attempt to regulate video games.”

“Ninety-seven percent of teens in America play video games, and a significant and growing number of them are interested in pursuing careers in the game industry. Our hope is that Project A-Game will create an ecosystem of support for young people with an interest in making games like those that already exist for young people interested in things like music, athletics or fine arts,” said Brian Alspach, executive vice president at E-Line Media.

These two studios will be members of a global network of youth-run game studios. Participants will also enjoy diverse opportunities for both local and remote collaboration with other youth-run studios, recognition of outstanding youth work through design competitions and public showcases, and distribution of their games through various industry channels.

About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at

About Entertainment Software Association
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. In addition, ESA works with its members and non-profits and government agencies to spearhead programs utilizing video games for encouraging students in science, technology, engineering, and math field, as well as for fitness and physical health. For more information and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter: @RichatESA. ESA also operates the ESA Foundation (ESAF), which was created by the American entertainment software industry to provide opportunities that can make a difference in the lives of America’s youth. ESAF has raised more than $12 million in the last 14 years. For more information about ESAF, please visit, or on Twitter: @ESA_Foundation

About E-line Media
E-Line Media ( is a publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate and empower, helping to prepare youth for lives and careers in the 21st century. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, nonprofits and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning, health and social impact. E-Line is a for-profit, double-bottom-line company that was founded specifically with the mission of scaling research-based learning platforms in a manner that balances financial sustainability, affordability and reach to underserved communities. E-Line’s work in youth game making includes Gamestar Mechanic (, a game-based platform where young people can learn game design that is currently in use in over 3,000 schools and community organizations.


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