Choices Education Group Now Reaches Teens through Texts -- New Sms-Based Game Helps Teens Make Better Choices

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CHOICES Education Group, a Seattle-based nonprofit, announces its new SMS-based educational game, the CHOICES Challenge. The CHOICES Challenge is played entirely via text messaging on the teen’s cell phone, thereby reaching those that might not have access to smartphones or computers out of school.

We are helping kids at a crucial point in their lives, when they are old enough to think realistically about their future but are young enough to still do something about it.

CHOICES Education Group, a Seattle-based nonprofit, announces its new SMS-based educational game, the CHOICES Challenge. Currently funded by a grant from Microsoft, the CHOICES Challenge is being offered as a free enhancement to the CHOICES workshop, its highly successful dropout prevention and student success program.

The CHOICES Challenge is played entirely via text messaging on the teen’s cell phone, thereby reaching those that might not have access to smartphones or computers out of school. To play, teens get texts from a fictitious “friend” asking for help in situations they’re facing as they go through high school. The player has to decide what choice will help their friend the most. They then learn the consequences of the choice they made, whether positive or negative—and sometimes unexpected.

“Not only does the CHOICES Challenge get the attention of teens because it’s texting them on their cell phones, but it also helps them discover that their choices have consequences that directly impact their future educational, career and life opportunities,” said Leo Muller, Executive Director of the national not-for-profit.

There is an extra incentive for teens to play CHOICES Challenge: the chance to win an Xbox 360 Kinect! Each month, one winner is selected from all players who successfully completed the game in the previous month. Savannah Wilkerson, 15, from Grove, Oklahoma, is the first winner of the Xbox drawing. Wilkerson took the CHOICES Challenge and felt that the issues posed during the game were very realistic. “There were some choices I face every day,” said Wilkerson, “It was very interesting and relatable.”

This new game draws on teens’ empathy to help others, assumes they have sound advice to offer, and builds muscle memory that increases their capacity to make wise choices for themselves, all within the safety of a game, before they face similar situations in their own lives. The game’s situations are layered with complexities to keep it realistic, engaging, and challenging for teens, while maintaining its key message: Stay in school and make positive educational choices for your future.

“Every school day 7,000 students become dropouts--posing a very real problem for communities nationwide,” said Muller. “Through our classroom workshops, and now through the CHOICES Challenge, we are helping kids at a crucial point in their lives, when they are old enough to think realistically about their future but are young enough to still do something about it.”

CHOICES Education Group has reached more than six million students in North America over the last 25 years. For more information, visit http://www.choices.org.

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Shannon Kavanaugh
CHOICES Education Group
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