Announcing the Gameheads: Middle School Program


Gameheads Partners with After-School All-Stars to Announce Middle School Program
The East Bay youth organization focusing on video game design and development, education and career counseling, is expanding to Claremont Middle School.


OAKLAND, CA — Gameheads, an Oakland-based tech justice program at United Roots’ Youth Impact Hub, is teaming up with After-School All-Stars, Ever Forward, The Town Kitchen and Launch Camp to provide an intense after-school program at Claremont Middle School in Oakland for the 2016 – 2017 school year. The program will consist of three 10-week sessions during the school year, providing 135 hours of instruction to 45 middle school students.


“Our goal for the Gameheads: Middle School expansion is to provide enrichment and introductory skills to girls and boys of color at a much earlier age and to inspire them to transition into high school level STEAM programs,” said Damon Packwood, co-founder and executive director of Gameheads. “We are excited to expand the reach of our services alongside an experienced and successful organization like After-School All-Stars.”


According to Namrata Gupta, executive director of After School All Stars, [We are] “excited to partner with Gameheads to bring innovative and cutting edge programs to Title 1 schools around the Bay. The goal of this partnership is to give access to resources that could help shape the future of our kids.”


“We believe it takes more than mentorship, homework help and STEM classes to level the playing field for disadvantaged students. We are prototyping a program starting this August, for marginalized communities, students in Oakland and San Francisco which builds agency and equips them to take ownership of their learning, through personally relevant content and instruction.”


Founded in 2004, the Ever Forward Club mentors young men of color in middle and high school by providing them with safe, brave communities that build character and transform lives. The Town Kitchen introduces underserved youth to talented chefs and start-up entrepreneurs so they have the skills and network to pursue their future. Launch Camp empowers students to take immediate action through tech and business entrepreneurship and enables them to benefit from the result.


As part of the program, Gameheads, which aims to prepare youth for careers in the video game and technology industries, will work with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders on how to develop video games that represent their community, culture, and interests. During each 10-week session, 15 students will learn about artistic and socially relevant videogames; gain exposure to the video game industry through industry professionals who will serve as guest speakers; and learn basic programming, project management and design concepts. Students also will learn basic sound engineering, turntablism and beat making that will be imported into the final video game projects.


In addition to teaching young people essential skills to gain access to the tech industry after graduation, Gameheads approaches the training with a youth-centered learning focus that ensures highly engaged youth and an exciting organizational culture. Another core goal of Gameheads is to make sure that each student graduates; therefore, Gameheads provides academic, college and financial counseling as well as hands on learning experiences that take students out of the classrooms.


About Gameheads


Gameheads is a youth program at United Roots’ Youth Impact Hub whose goal is to prepare youth for a career in the video game industry. The intention of the Gameheads program is to address the knowledge divide but to do so in a way that is focused on one arm of the tech field: electronic entertainment. Participants of Gameheads will learn how to create, code and design games, building skills across a variety of disciplines from visual art, creative writing, design, programming, sound design, animation, game theory and history.


About After School All Stars


After-School All-Stars (ASAS) provides comprehensive after-school programs that keep children safe and help them succeed in school and life. Our vision is for our All-Stars to be safe and healthy, to graduate high school and go to college, to find careers they love and then give back to their communities.

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