Radical Empathy Education Foundation (REEFcares.org) licenses their virtual reality empathy training software, TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story, to trainers and groups across the world.
We are so impressed to see all the ways our licensees have created educational opportunities with our learning tools!
Licensees (in Texas, Illinois, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Arkansas, and elsewhere) have come up with some very creative ways to use it for education. Here's what's happening across America on a daily basis (more complete list with pictures and video below):
- Community-based in-person human trafficking prevention training
- Cross Medium / Cross Reality Learning Experiences
- Community awareness at outreach events
- Legislative and city leadership education
- Individual donor cultivation
- Public fundraising events
- In-person visitors to licensees' physical locations
- Fundraising gala support
- Middle and high school human trafficking prevention training (in-school and after school at Parent Nights)
- Medical student training enhancement
- Research on VR Training Effectiveness
- Job Training (city, state, national law enforcement, banking industry, FBI, medical students, etc.)
- Social emotional learning (SEL) and counseling
- Financial industry anti-trafficking training (yes – even “non-related” training are dramatically improved)
Interactive development began in 2017, and we are building new experiences every day! Here are a few behind-the-scenes images to show you a little of what it takes to build a product like this.
Licensees are encouraged to use the VR empathy module training software in any way they wish.
We are continually impressed, amazed, and grateful to see all the exceptional ways people have used this powerful tool
Here are a few real-world use cases from REEF's licensees.
Community-based in-person human trafficking prevention training
Our VR application is the perfect add-on to any training you are already providing. Hundreds of survivors and trainers have told us that the interactive virtual reality story creates a strong emotional connection to the learning material you cannot consistently create in any other way.
Cross Medium / Cross Reality Learning Experience
Community awareness at outreach events
The VR app gets people to understand the psychological manipulation that is nearly impossible to teach.
People broaden their understanding of the topic from “this only happens at the border” to “this could be happening to my children” in only 15 minutes.
Legislative and city leadership education
Texas state representative Tony Tinderholt shows his reaction in this video.
You never get enough time with leadership. And even when you do, their attention is distracted by everything and everyone in a room.
Virtual reality headsets guarantee you have undivided attention for 15-20 minutes, and you know exactly what they are learning. Can you say that about any other type of training?
Individual donor cultivation
You get to have a very personal interaction with a donor when they use this experience.
This image is from demonstrating TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story at The Landing, a Houston-area drop-in shelter, on a special evening with their board and donors.
In-person visitors to licensees' physical locations
Our licensees always keep a headset charged at their physical locations for their guests.
We were with Southern Grit Advocacy in Wichita Falls, Texas, when they had their mayor and chief of police visit their office.
Fundraising gala support
Donors get a hands-on experience at the gala itself. Billy Joe has personally supported almost a dozen annual “gala” events for nonprofits across America.
Middle and high school human trafficking prevention training (in-school and after school)
Your software license allows you to use the training software anywhere you like, with as many headsets as you like.
Train students, parents, and administration in any class on your campus, day or night.
After learning with the VR software themselves, middle school students at Vista Innovation and Design Academy (VIDA) convinced their teacher to allow them to have a Parents' Night, to ensure that their relatives were also taught to stay safe from human trafficking through the VR headsets.
The STUDENTS made Parents' Night happen. Unbelievable.
Read more about VIDA here.
Medical student training enhancement
Medical students at University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) use it alongside in-class training, so students understand the emotional manipulation behind trafficking.
Dr. Martha Felini became our first university licensee, and she was the first to use the Meta Quest headsets in a training session. We were able to serve a room full of students at one time, with 38 individual headsets.
Research on VR Training Effectiveness
University of North Texas Health Science Center studied the effectiveness of how our Virtual Reality training can change real-world behavior and improve long-term retention of learning objectives. Initial results were amazing, but research remains to be completed.
Read more about Dr. Martha Felini, the organizer of the grant and license, here.
We are committed to investing in our future, so we share our materials with groups that are willing to commit to using them to train their students.
Austin Independent School District's McCallum High School uses the VR application's source code and art in job training classes.
Social emotional learning (SEL) and counseling
Social emotional learning (SEL) is a methodology that helps students of all ages to better comprehend their emotions, to feel those emotions fully, and demonstrate empathy for others. These learned behaviors are then used to help students make positive, responsible decisions; create frameworks to achieve their goals, and build positive relationships with others.
Guy Berry College & Career Academy in Arkansas plans to use the virtual reality application and its power to raise empathy to begin small group trainings and open up discussions with school counselors.
Psychological discussion kickoff
The story in the interactive experience introduces you to Lisa, a young girl who is going through a variety of familiar and social-emotional situations, including the divorce of her parents and her mom having to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. The topics brought up in the story serve as a basis for therapeutic discussion, for learning, and for growth.
An adolescent addiction specialist from the Austin area uses the VR app in his practice to give concrete examples of how easily children can be manipulated and also to open the door to talking about many other difficult topics related to the experience: divorce, abandonment, sextortion, social media use, abuse, rape, violence, pregnancy, etc.
Financial industry anti-trafficking training
In Montana, The Lifeguard Group trains small and large groups, from entire high school auditoriums down to intimate groups of bank employees.
They have special curriculum to teach people in the financial system about finding human trafficking inside transactions, etc., and they decided to bring the headsets along to one of their recent trainings.
While they were taking breaks from the regular course, they let the trainees try the VR experience.
The result was an INCREDIBLE increase in interest and understanding of human trafficking and how people can become victims by no fault of their own.
A few words from Billy Joe Cain, the creator of TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story:
“We are so impressed to see all the ways our licensees have created educational opportunities with our learning tools! It's exciting be part of waking people up!
I want to highlight something most people don't consider, which is the vital importance of the mental condition of the people delivering training. Very few trainers have access to psychological support, which means that every training session is potentially injurious. And with the incredible turnover rate of people working to educate people in this field, everything we can do to keep trainers (especially survivors!) functioning at their highest level is critical.
Some groups ask survivors to speak to the public, and sometimes it's very hard to get some members of the public to acknowledge trafficking could happen to someone they love.
In training situations, TRAPPED (the VR application) does the difficult work of teaching about the ‘invisible chains' without having to convince someone that this could be happening to their children.
This tool can help prevent survivors from having their lived experience questioned, which means they receive less mental injury during their training and can allow them to begin and continue discussions about trafficking at a higher level.
This is the strongest single case for this product to exist, in my opinion. Helping trainers stay psychologically safe is just another way to invest in the solution.”
– Billy Joe Cain
About Radical Empathy Education Foundation
Radical Empathy Education Foundation (REEF) is an Austin-based nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking in one generation. To capture the attention of young adults, they use virtual reality experiences that include fully interactive, computer generated environments married with narrative, user-directed stories. To support REEF's work, please visit https://www.reefcares.org/
About ONE GENERATION EDUCATION SYSTEM™
Radical Empathy Education Foundation (REEF) is dedicated to ending human trafficking in one generation. Our One Generation Education System™ utilizes cutting edge virtual reality (VR) technology that helps you make an empathetic connection to victims of the crime and understand how anyone could be tricked into being a victim. It also includes the interactive online course, Human Trafficking Essentials, that can be completed anytime in your web browser.
Students experience our interactive VR application, TRAPPED: A VR Detective Story, and collect clues that tell a narrative story of how this happened to a young girl, from her perspective. The VR experience creates empathy for victims, making students more interested in the online course. It has been designed, maintained, and improved with advice from hundreds of subject matter experts and feedback from thousands of users.
Human Trafficking Essentials is based upon 15 years of Dr. David Deeds' teaching experience. He taught these materials for 15 years in his criminal justice classes at College of DuPage and Governors State University.