change and play

My project this quarter has been focussed on using play and community to build confidence and change behaviors. I have been looking at life-skills and youth aging out of foster care. The research we did last quarter changed my perspective on homelessness. I was unaware that women and children were the fastest growing population, many young women aging out of foster care.  I felt a need to try to DO SOMETHING…

At the moment this has taken the form of an online tool that incorporates concepts of “play” and community to encourage the youth to get involved. As a designer I feel immersed in play regularly, but I am not a game designer trained in the theories and mechanics applied in the industry. So, I have been trying to absorb as much as possible looking at other models and watching videos. Yesterday I watched the video at the beginning of this post and thought again about why I chose a “play” model for my project.

  • influence and status—Everyone needs to feel like a winner, which helps build confidence. The video spoke about this in the way I am hoping to implement it. The youth will have “bragging rights” as they complete tasks, but there is no failing. It is focussed on their accomplishments.
  • communal dynamic—It is easier to accomplish things with peer support. This is a model that many fitness programs have been successfully built upon. I am hoping to build upon this and connect the youth back to the community and caring adults.

These are some of the theories, but I think that “play” encourages people to take risks with less fear and without being as overwhelmed by expectations. It is that license to be silly or try something new.

How has “play” or community connections played a role in making changes in your life? What rewards have you created for yourself based on behavior? Would you take 20 minutes out of your day to log on and answer questions to help your community? Does your answer change if rewards are involved?

2 thoughts on “change and play”

I definitely think that community (peer support) must play a role in taking risks, being that it must be a supportive environment. I can also say that having no community also leads to taking risks. I saw this a lot while traveling. People would do things they definitely wouldn’t have done at home. Sometimes this is done for the thrill. Other times, it’s done for the sheer necessity of having no other option.

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