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We Commit to #BeingKind21 by Supporting Teen Bravery

Claudia-Santi F. Fernandes and Tyra Pendergrass / August 20, 2018

Claudia is Associate Research Scientist at the play2PREVENT Lab of Yale Center for Health & Learning Games and Licensed Professional Counselor at Connecticut Psychiatric & Wellness Center. She specializes in designing, developing, and evaluating teen interventions, including video games, to promote healthy behaviors.

Tyra is Associate Director at the Yale Center for Health and Learning Games and the play2PREVENT Lab. She specializes in developing and evaluating video games interventions to promote health behavior change. She also oversees the ForAGirl Program.

“School shootings are happening in our high schools and we are scared that it could happen to us. So we want to spread awareness on this crucial issue,” said one of our ForAGirl Scholars  from the play2PREVENT (p2P) Lab at Yale Center for Health & Learning Games as she presented her group’s video game intervention. In this presentation, she and her group outlined the design of a video game intervention that addressed school safety.

The heaviness of her statement struck a chord in everyone in the room. All eyes were on her as she spoke. She spoke with conviction, concern, bravery, and a deep commitment to address what was noticeably distressing to her and her peers all while maintaining her lively disposition that she had become known for throughout the program. School may have once been considered a safe place, but today may be different. And, she would like to be part of the solution by designing an innovative video game that promoted positive peer exchanges in school.

What is moving about the above story is her bravery to address the cause. Teen bravery is palpable. You can feel it when you observe it – it is contagious, exciting, and inspiring. Other scholars from the ForAGirl Program noted climate change as a concern while others noted implicit biases related to race/ethnicity.

The reality is that teen voices are powerful and we need them more than ever to guide the work being done in schools as well as face the many challenges outside of school as well. In addition to being important voices to be heard, supporting their action and advocacy in addressing these issues is essential as we continue our work with them. We know that teens are experiencing depression and anxiety at higher rates as compared to other generations, so we need to listen more and support their development in becoming change agents.

Our future needs them.

In our team’s commitment to the #BeKind21 challenge, our focus is on how to better support and encourage the voices of our teens, we – as members of the p2P Lab – commit to:

  1. Ensuring that teens inform every step of our process in designing, developing, and evaluating video game interventions to support them
  2. Listening to the challenges that they face AND to the solutions they suggest
  3. Encouraging them to have fun with us! We all know that the more comfortable people feel, the more they are likely to share openly and honestly
  4. Promoting kindness along the way through every exchange with teens – whether it be a giving a smile, sharing a meal, or cheering them on throughout each step of the way – these actions can have an enormous impact and help build teen confidence to take on this important work

In everything we do at p2P, teens voices are not only important but necessary as we develop interventions that are informed by them. Join us in making teen voices front and center for the next 21 days and beyond!

Pledge to #BeKind21 today at!