Charity Debt: The Trevor Project

I'll be honest -- I've been thinking for a couple days about who I wanted to commit to donating to this month, and I was drawing a blank.  Not that I think there's a shortage of worthy charities in the world, but I've already listed pretty much all the ones that tend to jump to mind for me. So, I looked at what I had, and tried to figure out what categories of help I care about that aren't represented in that list.  The first one I came up with was education, but none of the charities I found jumped out at me as great ideas, right away.  The next category I searched was LGBT.

Sorted by star-rating, The Trevor Project is the first charity that comes up when you search LGBT on Charity Navigator.

I know of the Trevor Project mostly because of the Trevor Lifeline, a free suicide prevention hotline that they provide for kids around the country who are facing bullying, harassment, or abuse for their sexuality.  The number for that hotline is 1-866-488-7386.  This seems very much like the kind of charity that might have helped me, when I was younger, if things had been a little worse.  It's easy for me to imagine kids who need this.  Donating here is something I can do to make that thought a little more unrealistic.

Jane McGonigal: Life-giving games



Now that I've got that out of my system.

I remember, when I was reading "Reality Is Broken," the chapter when Jane McGonigal discusses "Super Better," the game she invented to help her through the depression and recovery after a serious injury.  I don't remember, at the time, making the connection between my own depression and the variety of illnesses that other people are using Super Better to get through.

I don't know.  Maybe I did think of it.  There was a lot in that book that made me think, "There it is!  The solution to everything!"

In McGonigal's new TED talk, she points out, much more straightforwardly, that the tools she developed are a framework for improving one's life, in exactly the sort of way that everyone, not just people suffering from serious illness, can benefit from.

It's a little embarrassing, actually, to realize that I didn't make this connection in the first place.  The central theme of "Reality Is Broken" is positive psychology -- using science, psychology, analysis, and especially gamification, to move upwards from a neutral point and make life better, rather than just focusing on alleviating suffering and reducing exposure to unpleasant experiences.

The talk is great.  You should watch it.  You should also watch her other TED talk, which is more broadly about how gaming can make the world a better place, and read her book, Reality Is Broken, which is about using game style mechanisms to make everything better.