A dream job: Using digital technology to support healing

jj bouchard digital media mott children's hospitalYou’ve probably heard the warnings.

“Limit screen time for your children.”

“Focus on real experiences vs. screen experiences.”

There are good reasons for these guidelines.

But what about kids who spend long periods of time in hospital rooms, cut off from friends and peers? What about teens who crave even a small sense of normalcy – average teen activities, and even ways to interact with other teens from within the confines of their hospital room? Can “screens” actually be a lifeline in these situations?

That’s where J.J. Bouchard comes in.

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Gaming for Good

Xbox 360 systems now available in patient rooms at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

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When Anna Dai and Efrain Segarra signed up to take an entry-level computer engineering course at University of Michigan, they expected to learn about game software development.

What they did not expect was to find themselves taking gaming to a whole new level through a massive project at U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Thanks to their efforts – along with the generosity of dozens of other individuals and groups – patients at Mott will now find their room equipped with an Xbox 360.

Out of the classroom, into the real world

Efrain Segarra was a freshman when he took Professor David Chesney’s course.

“Dr. Chesney calls it Gaming for the Greater Good,” says Segarra, referring to the course’s focus on developing software that can benefit children with disabilities.

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Gamers give back to Mott

Gamers Outreach team delivering Xbox 360 consoles they are helping C.S. Mott Children's Hospital install in patient rooms.Being in the hospital is a little more fun for kids at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, thanks in part to the generous support of Gamers Outreach Foundation and the Mott Family Network. And, it’s about to get even more fun!

Gamers Outreach was founded by 25-year-old Zach Wigal. When Zach was in high school, he enjoyed a wide variety of activities, but playing video games was a favorite. So much so that he decided to organize a video game tournament in his hometown of Saline, Mich. Part of his goal was to have fun, but the other part was to help dispel the negative connotation that often accompanies gaming. More than 300 people registered for that first tournament and the event raised $4,000 for the Autism Society of America. It was through that event that Gamers Outreach Foundation was born.

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