COCOA, Fla., Nov. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- TiViTz®, a strategy-based math game, today announced it has launched a new online game to allow kids to save for college and reduce their secondary education debt. The TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon expands the reach of the popular TiViTz math game which has been used as part of the math curriculum by more than 10,000 teachers and 400,000 students across the country. Much like they would for a walk-a-thon or dance-a-thon, kids participating in the TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon secure pledges from family and friends, but instead of walking or dancing, kids exercise their mental muscles with the award-winning math and strategy TiViTz game. Participating in the TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon offers children as young as six the opportunity to start or add to a college savings fund.
According to Forbes, two-thirds of college graduates have some level of debt, the average of which is $26,600. One key solution to decrease the debt is starting to save early for college. Research also shows that children with even a small amount of money in a savings account in their name are seven times more likely to go to college than those who don't. The TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon not only offers students this benefit, but also the ability to earn the money themselves while improving their math and critical thinking skills.
Students can also earn funds from companies and organizations that have agreed to match pledge dollars. Last year, the top 30 fundraising athletic events that sought pledges from walking, running, dancing or biking raised $1.69 billion. The College $avings Game-a-thon seeks to use this same approach to help students raise money for an equally valuable cause — their education. The Game-a-thon will begin each year in November and run through January 31.
The College $avings Game-a-thon is being piloted in Tampa, Fla., but is available to students across the country to play and earn money for their college education. In Tampa, TiViTz has teamed up with the Tampa Bay Partnership, a group of 150 public and private businesses dedicated to influencing business and government issues that impact economic growth and development, to endorse the program.
"I'm proud to say that many of our students are engaged in playing TiViTz to improve their math and critical thinking skills," said MaryEllen Elia, superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa. "Math will be important to students who pursue science, technology and engineering careers, but it will also be very important to students, no matter what their career, in the information age of the 21st century," she said.
TiViTz, which is available for both computers and tablets as well as in board-game format, has a variety of themes, but the most popular is Ripken Baseball TiViTz, created in partnership with Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
"The TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon is part of our broader commitment to education," said Matt Cutler, vice president of investor relations and development for the Tampa Bay Partnership. "We not only want to attract the best and brightest, we strive to produce them here at some of the best schools in the country. Preparing our students for college, both academically and financially, is critical to the success of our local business community and, more importantly, to their individual success," he said.
Signing up for the program is an easy, six-step process. Students can:
- Create a profile at tivitzcollegesavings.com
- Designate a college savings account or set one up in less than two minutes
- Secure pledges from family and friends
- Play TiViTz games online to trigger pledges
- Track their pledge progress on a personalized TiViTz College $avings Dashboard
- Earn match pledges from local corporations and foundations
In Tampa, Caspers Company McDonald's restaurants is offering thousands of dollars in pledge matches to students. "We rely on our schools to provide us with quality employees not only proficient in math but capable of thinking critically to work together as a member of a team and run a complex business," said Bob Conigliaro, vice president of marketing for Caspers Company. "TiViTz is a great tool to develop both of those skills in students and our future leaders. It is important for us to support their dreams for college and whatever career awaits them," he said.
"Helping students build strong math skills is a priority for Hillsborough County," said Larry Plank, Director of K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education for Hillsborough County Public Schools. "TiViTz provides students in all grade levels with a hands-on STEM activity that's not only fun and engaging, but is also customized to their level of ability. A student can't win the game unless they can do the math correctly, and that's a huge motivator for kids. TiViTz gives us yet another leg up on making our students competitive in the age of technology," he said.
TiViTz® is a registered trademark of SAS Games, Inc. Based in Cocoa, Fla., the company is led by CEO Siobhan Mullen, a former aerospace executive, in partnership with TiViTz creator, Stephen Scully. Encouraging students of all ages to "Improve Your Game, Improve Your Mind," SAS Games produces the popular TiViTz board game as well as 2D and 3D online versions at tivitz.com. The game has won multiple awards in the toy and game industry, including Dr. Toy, National Parenting Center, Creative Child and Parents' Choice.
TiViTz is not only a favorite of school districts, youth sports leagues, afterschool clubs, and of course, discerning parents and kids, it is also endorsed by several celebrity spokespersons, most notably, Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Orioles' shortstop, Cal Ripken Jr. TiViTz Live Action Tournaments have been sponsored and/or hosted by Ripken Baseball, McDonald's®/Caspers Company in Tampa, Fla., Busch Gardens Tampa, NASA/Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the Schwarzenegger Youth Foundation, national science museums, the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks, and Minor and Major League Baseball Teams including the Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers, Rangers, and Tampa Bay Rays.