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Pokémon Go: Don't Forget to Look Up

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Kalamazoo Community Foundation

We are happy to share this blog by Alex Willis, marketing coordinator at Omega Computer Services. This entry was originally published on the foundation's blog.

Working in the technology industry at Omega Computer Services I am constantly keeping up on the latest tech trends and news. I had a little knowledge about the Pokémon Go app before it was released and was excited to play it. However, it is doing something I never would have expected.

Helping a city heal.

You may think I'm crazy, but if you take one trip to Bronson Park in the evening you will understand that the game is doing something special.

I took a trip to Bronson Park last week to catch some Pokémon with a few friends. It was a nice day so I decided, why not go out and get some fresh air. We pulled up to the park and as I stepped out of the car I was amazed at how many people were actually there. I have lived in Kalamazoo for three years now and have been to Bronson Park many times. The number of people I saw that day was easily triple what I have ever seen there before.

I was in awe for a few seconds, but then joined everyone in the hunt for Pokémon. It didn't hit me until about 20 minutes after arriving at the park and looking up to watch what was going on around me. I didn't even notice but my group of friends and I were talking to a mixed group of people that I just don't talk to on a regular basis. This was a group of all different races, ages and backgrounds, but that wasn't even what got to me the most.

What got to me was that these types of groups were everywhere. The conversations were so natural it was incredible. Everyone that was there could relate on one thing and that was Pokémon, but often it would lead to much more. It was the best ice breaker I had ever seen. I overheard so many conversations about the city, all the way from how long someone has been living here to what is the best place in town to grab a bite to eat.

It's cliché, but it truly is hard for me to put into words. In a time when our city has suffered so much pain in such a short time it is amazing to see what such a simple game can do.

I'll leave with this suggestion: download the app, get outside, catch some Pokémon and don't forget to look up.

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