Over the next five months, five neighbourhoods, each representing a team , will engage with and compete against each other playing a variety of video games that have been carefully selected. Research has shown that playing video games can have a positive effect on life skills.
This initiative is designed to develop and promote community well being said Deputy Chief Sparling at the Neighbourhood Resource centre on Gore Street, close by to a Mac’s store that has been hit numerous times with armed robbery. Management of the local Mac’s store and City Police developed a strategy that has resulted in the number of robbery attempts dropping to zero at that location. Palmer Darryl Maniacco, representing the Sault Ste. Marie Mac’s stores said since October of 2016, the Gore Street Mac’s has closed overnight from 11am to 6am. “it was a problem store ” Maniacco said. Sparling told media that it was encouraging to see a leadership role from a business to combat the robbery problem in the area.
The video game program will take place at all existing community hubs and resource centres and will focus on community development in all there are five such centres scattered around the city and all in close proximity to a Mac’s store . The owner’s of the Mac’s stores are donating $5,000 to the initiative.
According to research playing video games has a positive effect on the brain and has shown to improve job performance especially those requiring good eye hand coordination, attention , excellent working memory and quick decision making.
Each neighbourhood team will engage in a two hour session two days a week. The sessions will be broken down into two equal parts. The participants will play one of the pre-selected video games for the first hour. In the second hour the teams participating will take part in a group activity where players can utilize some of the skills associated with the video games during the play time and put those skills into real-life practice through strategic group activities. Attendance, game points and team activity points will be combined to determine overall program scores creating a friendly community competition.
The program also encourages community development by brain storming strategies to help combat crime in their specific neighbourhoods. Members of the public are invited to visit their neighbourhood centre to get involved. The Sault Ste. Marie community hubs are located on Gore Street, Boston Ave, Second Line West, Crawford Ave and Albion / Chapple.