Mission

We are a tech training program that uses video game design, development and DevOps to create diverse talent and bold new voices, train youth of color for the tech eco-system and prepare them for college, career and civic life.

Based out of Oakland, CA, Gameheads uses video game design, development and DevOps to engage, prepare and train low-income youth and youth of color ages 15 to 24 in the Bay Area for careers in the tech and video game industries. Through a powerful medium that youth are familiar with and passionate about, our students learn how to code, design, manage projects, work in teams, lead, and create interactive projects that tell stories to enrich us all. In the process, they are also graduating from high school, getting into college to pursue STEAM-related degrees and preparing themselves to enter the tech and video game industries.

Team

Damon Packwood

Co-Founder, Executive Director

Damon has more than 18 years of experience in the youth development and education fields, 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 while 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 with an emphasis on interactive design. For his thesis, he spent a year in the San Francisco Mission District studying the effect of technology on low-income communities. Damon believes that using video games to teach game design and development to “cultural alchemists” can help create the future tech zealots, digital rebels, and multimedia mavericks.

Bilen Mesfin Packwood

Strategic Communications Consultant

The Founder and CEO of Change Consulting. She has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism, PR and communication and has worked with several organizations such as The Rosenberg Foundation, Level Playing Field Institute, Women’s Funding Network and California Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color and more.

Tanya Alvarado

Administrative Assistant

Tanya has more than 13 years of experience as an Administrative Assistant. She spent 15 years in the gaming industry, using her passion for employee satisfaction and process improvement to promote from administrative roles to supervisory and managerial assignments in gaming and hospitality areas.

In addition to volunteering for the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Koman events, having been a Relay for Life Event Chair and Breast Cancer 3 Day Team Captain, Tanya enjoys teaching ceramic painting techniques to children, riding horses and traveling with her family. She lives outside Phoenix, AZ, with her husband and 2 daughters.

Jose Martinez

Program Coordinator
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