For an Atlanta-based mother-daughter entrepreneurial team, deep conversations can start right in the App Store.
Gen Connect also comes with a specific Parent Guide, designed in tandem with Emory University, and tips about how to get the most out of playing.
“This gets parents to start thinking about how they can support their children, but also get them more comfortable with how therapeutic interventions can be supported within families,” Wingfield added. “There’s a lot of trauma and loss recently around COVID and want to make sure we have as many tools as possible and that they’re easily accessible but also culturally relevant within the app.”
Gen Connect is a second entrepreneurial venture for Wingfield and her daughter. The two started the wellness program Cool Moms Dance Too in 2016 after the loss of Serenity’s dad.
Wingfield used her background in dance to form a deeper connection with her daughter and navigate important mental health conversations. It ultimately grew into a full hip hop-dance class studio and online dance class series for families.
“Normally people think dance therapy is more calming and therapeutic. We’re doing it from a different vantage point, which is about high energy and expressing yourself with uplifting music,” Wingfield added.
Through the Center for Civic Innovation Fellowship and through and City of Atlanta/Invest Atlanta WEI, the mother-daughter team connected with university app developers and designers to ultimately build the game-based app.
Community Effort, Community Impact
Wingfield hopes the app can “make mental health more digestible to families,” and its community-centric focus has helped them bring in some strong partners early on.
To date, they’ve worked with 8,000 families and secured partnerships with the National Alliance of Mental Health Georgia, The Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, Kidz Bop, Spanx/Sara Blakely Foundation, and the Atlanta Hawks.
Wingfield said they have the short-term goal of getting into the hands of 22,000 families over the next few months as they continue to build out new categories in the app.
While the app is designed to spark deep conversations between family members, it may have also helped inspire Serenity to pursue a tech career down the road. She told Hypepotamus that her strong eye for user experience design and passion for colors helped bring the app to life.