Gameheads is an innovative program that gives low-income youth and youth of color hands-on training in video game design and development to prepare them for careers in the entertainment and technology industries. They train students to conceive of and design games, building skills across fields necessary to thrive in tech, from coding to visual art, creative writing, design thinking, project management, team collaboration, animation, and theory. Their vision is to diversify the video game and technology industries while elevating the voices of youth and communities of color by empowering them to create interactive content that can enrich us all.
Damon Leon Packwood is co-founder and executive director of Gameheads, an organization that trains low-income and first-generation students ages 15–24 in video game design and development to prepare them for careers in the entertainment and tech industries. Damon has more than 18 years of experience in the youth development and education fields, with positions at Juma Ventures, Hack the Hood, and Upward Bound. A San Francisco native, he watched the city’s working-class community disappear with the rise of the Bay Area tech industry; his students couldn’t get jobs right out of college. His passion for education, interactive media, and multiculturalism led him to a master’s in multimedia tech, for which he spent a year in the San Francisco Mission District studying the effect of technology on low-income communities. He believes that Gameheads’ students are our future tech zealots, digital rebels, and multimedia mavericks.