Attorney General Maura Healey announced that Project Here Games, an online app available for middle school students to practice healthy decision-making skills for substance use prevention, has been selected as a 2019 Parentsâ€™ Choice Gold Award winner.
â€œProject Here Games gives our young people the skills needed to make healthy choices, deal with stress and social pressures, and avoid substance use,â€ said AG Healey. â€œWe are proud to be recognized by Parentsâ€™ Choice and grateful to our partners for their ongoing work helping us stop substance use before it starts.â€
The Parentsâ€™ Choice Awards program, awarded by the Parentsâ€™ Choice Foundation, honors the best material for children, including books, toys, music, magazines, software, videogames, television and websites, each year. Parentsâ€™ Choice selected Project Here Games as its only 2019 Gold Award winner in the website category, calling the applicationâ€™s content â€œskillfully designedâ€ and applauding its thought-provoking hypothetical scenarios for allowing children to consider how different actions can have different outcomes.
AG Healey and the GE Foundation unveiled Project Here Games in September 2018 as part of Project Here, a $2 million public-private collaboration to make substance use prevention education available to all public middle schools in Massachusetts.
Project Here Games, developed by FableVision Studios in partnership with Health Resources in Action, teaches students about healthy choices, peer pressure, substance use and coping with stress through games, quizzes, and scenarios. The app helps students gain practical skills to navigate challenging situations and make healthy decisions as they grow up, and is available for free on computers, tablets, and smart phones. It can be used by teachers as an in-classroom activity or by students outside of school.
â€œProject Here is a great example of a public-private collaboration that is making real progress in helping students make healthy decisions,â€ said Ann R. Klee, President, GE Foundation. â€œProject Here Games is connecting with kids in innovative ways by bringing gamification to the fight against substance use and the opioid crisis.â€
â€œProject Here Games has been described by middle schoolers as â€˜so cool,â€™ â€˜funâ€™ and â€˜wicked easy to use,â€™â€ said Ivy Schmalzried, Senior Program Manager at Health Resources in Action. â€œWe are excited to have won a Parentsâ€™ Choice Gold Award to recognize the app as a unique way to help foster healthy development of skills in young people to prevent substance use.â€
â€œFableVision Studios was proud to help design and develop this game-based approach alongside the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and Health Resources in Action in the important work of supporting young people in our state and combatting substance use,â€ said Gary Goldberger, FableVision President and Co-Founder. â€œWe are honored to be a part of the team and have our work acknowledged by the Parents’ Choice Foundation.â€
Project Here was announced in May 2017 by the AGâ€™s Office, the GE Foundation, Epicenter Experience and The Herren Project to promote social emotional learning and empower students to make healthy decisions through an innovative combination of curricula, digital content, and support for educators and students. The program provides every public middle school with access to a free Online Toolkit with resources to educate students about marijuana, vaping, opioids and other substances, and learn social and emotional skills needed to make healthy decisions. The Toolkit also allows students the opportunity to connect to a support network of licensed social workers at The Herren Project. To date, more than 290 schools have registered for Project Here and are accessing its resources.
In September 2018, AG Healey also announced nearly $450,000 in grant funding to 109 schools through the Project Here Substance Use Prevention Curriculum Grant to implement evidence-based substance use prevention curricula over a two-year period. The funding was awarded to individual schools, school districts, and educational collaboratives across 38 Massachusetts cities and towns and will reach tens of thousands of students.
Learn more and register for Project Here at www.projectherema.org. Project Here Games is available at www.projectheregames.org.