Highlights from a Foundation for Innovation –
The ESA Foundation (ESAF) is busy this summer reading through hundreds of grant and scholarship applications showcasing the incredible work done toward improving the lives of America’s youth. We received nearly 250 grant applications and 170 scholarship applications. ESAF will announce the next round of grant and scholarship recipients this fall.
ESAF is also starting preparations for the 2011 Nite to Unite – for Kids gala, set to take place on Tuesday, October 25, in San Francisco. Make sure to mark it on your calendars as tickets will go on sale soon.
This edition of the ESAF newsletter highlights the great work at ThanksUSA for military families. ESAF supports the organization’s annual Treasure Hunt, which offers a fun way to learn while supporting military spouses and children. Natalie Mercado, an ESA scholarship recipient who recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design, also provides her thoughts on entering the industry.
Thanks for your support!
Vice President, ESA Foundation
ESAF Sponsors Online Treasure Hunt to Promote Scholarships for Children of Military Personnel
Each year ThanksUSA hosts an online Treasure Hunt to celebrate America’s values and to promote scholarships for children of military personnel, while offering lessons about using the Internet. This year’s Treasure Hunt focuses on the history of Oklahoma, West Virginia and U.S. territories. Other topics include folk heroes, national parks, influential women and the history of the National Guard.
“We get a lot of feedback from teachers and families saying that they use the Treasure Hunt as a teaching tool for their children on how to do safe online searches. They learn how to pick out keywords in a phrase and determine what are legitimate sites and what aren’t,” said Sherry Koch, a program manager with ThanksUSA. “This is a great way to offer two lessons simultaneously, through a fun and engaging platform.”
ESAF sponsors the Treasure Hunt, now in its sixth year. Players of the game tackle crosswords, word searches, anagrams, sudokus and history questions to unlock chapters and be eligible to win prizes. This year, ThanksUSA offers an additional chapter each Sunday – Summer Stories – to keep kids engaged when they are out of school.
Two sisters who were fascinated by treasure hunts founded ThanksUSA – which stands for Treasure Hunt Aiding Needs of Kids and Spouses of those serving in the United States of America –and hoped to use the appeal of them to get kids and their parents to support a national goal. The organization’s scholarship fund provides need-based college, technical and vocational school opportunities to military spouses and dependents. The founders were recently featured on NBC’s “Today Show.”
“We’re so thankful to have the support of the ESA Foundation so that we can continue offering great opportunities for kids and adults alike, while showing our support for military families,” said Koch.
To learn more about ESAF grant opportunities, visit http://www.theesa.com/foundation/application.asp.
Creating a New Game Environment
“You see, I’m a gamer,” said ESAF scholarship recipient Natalia Mercado when talking about life after college. Mercado recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, and wants to take her passion for video games to the next level by securing a job in the video game industry.
Mercado specialized in concept animation and modeling and hopes she can use her artistic talent to create the environments where games are played out. While at SCAD, Mercado helped design Tilted Origin, a game where the character rolls and speeds around a rough terrain in a sphere.
“It’s fascinating to see the process from beginning to end – from paintings and drawing to a real look and feel for the game,” she said.
Mercado also participates in Ohio State University’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, and was involved in efforts to get more young women interested in technology and game arts.
Mercado added: “Studying game development has been an eye-opener for me because the majority of the people in the department are men. It’s great to have efforts like the ESA Foundation that bring more balance and diversity to the industry.”
To learn more about the ESAF scholarship program, visit http://www.theesa.com/foundation/scholarship.asp.