A Spark for Games to Stop Teen Dating Violence


Jennifer Ann's Group

Jennifer Ann’s Group

Earlier this year it was announced that for work done by Games for Health Project co-founder, Ben Sawyer, in serious games and games for health that he will be a SxSW Dewey Award Winner. The award is given to 10 people each year by SxSW Interactive as a memory to one of the original organizers of the event, Dewey Winburne. It is used to honor people who have used technology to try and improve the lives of others.

As part of the award which he will receive on Sunday March 10 in Austin SxSW is donating $1000.00 to the charity of his choice. The decision is to donate the funds to Jennifer Ann’s Group.

Jennifer Ann’s Group holds contests to inspire people to build games to help raise awareness and combat teenage dating violence. It is a one man show at Jennifer Ann’s Group. Jennifer’s amazing father is Drew Crecente, better known in some gaming circles as the brother of well-known game journalist Brian Crecente who was editor of Kotaku and is now at Polygon. Through the Crecente’s love of vidoegames came the inspiration to use that media form and other advocacy to create a living memorial to Jennifer Ann Crecente.

In less then three years the challenge has generated 2 dozen+ games built and some have made it into app stores, and been posted online to play.

This year Jennifer Ann’s Group is launching the contest again and our goal was to use this award from SxSW to give it and the organization a boost.

We decided to use the original $1,000 award a spark, a starting off point to help raise money to sponsor the prize this year and help with operations. As such, Games for Health Project is going to match the donation. We also reached out to some of our friends and we’re happy to report that in the last 24 hours we raised an additional $3,000 in matches from Schell Games, Mary-Ann Liebert Publishing, and Child’s Play Charity.

As of this morning we’re proud to say that $5,000 is going to Jennifer Ann’s Group to support the 2013 contest!

Now here’s where you come in…

Today, February 15, 2013 is the 7th anniversary of Jennifer Ann’s death. February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Today, as we announce this effort, we’re calling on all who follow us, who attend our events, who just care about the idea of games for health to help take this to the next level. Help Jennifer Ann’s Group and Drew Crecente prevent teen dating violence with any one or more of these three actions:

1. Build a game and enter the contest for 2013
2. Spread the word about this year’s contest. Entries can be submitted by anyone around the world 13 or older.
3. Consider making a donation to help up the prize amount and support operations. If you do let us know and we’ll track all the extra donations and report them here.

Games for Health was originally started with a few thousand dollars of funds that remained from one of the earliest serious games grants made. Today we are presenting a similar amount to Jennifer Ann’s Group sparked by an award recognizing that early work. It’s people like Drew Crecente, and innovators found in contests like this that inspire us every day.