Description of AWI pilot projects
Our first pilot project in 2006 was to deliver Train-the-Trainer workshops to help educators become comfortable implementing depression awareness curricula. Cooperating organizations, especially Boston Children's Hospital, have seen their Break Free From Depression curriculum completed by over 18,000 students in 120 schools.
AWI also piloted a resource for children to access on their own. In 2012, AWI spent $15,000 to determine whether a child playing in a virtual game environment would notice whether an avatar appeared distressed and, if so, whether he or she would care to improve the avatar's mood. After the positive results from our pilot, others contributed to expand the activities. It is now a virtual wellness center within Whyville.net, the web based learning tool. To date, over 20,000 individuals have successfully completed games 61,000 times to help the distressed avatar and to better understand problem solving and coping skills, grief, social anxiety, bullying, depression, and eating disorders. The youth also viewed related tip sheets 90,000 times.
Most recently, your support helped AWI go international. Last year we spent $14,000 in a pilot project with the Rotary Club of Wellesley. In response, the Rotary Foundation added $35,000 to expand our collaboration into a Peer Leadership and Depression Prevention (PLDP) project; it is innovative in that teens co-facilitate the curriculum. Project outcomes from the freshmen grade show over 70% improvement in Knowledge, Help-seeking and Attitudes. The project is designed for replication by other Rotary clubs and it is now being used by 3 schools in Puerto Rico.