Escape Rooms as a Force of Good

There are many reasons to build escape rooms, but Coach Ty Cobb (not the baseball player!) is the only person we’ve met building them specifically to empower our youth by teaching through immersive, theatrical experiences.

Approximately 24 elementary-aged students wearing sunglasses with their arms crossed.

We first met Coach Ty in 2019. We were instantly drawn in by his passion, energy, and intensity. He believes in the power of play so much that he is channeling it toward societal change.

We hope you’ll join us in supporting Coach Ty’s mission by donating to his current campaign. Here’s how you can help, and why it matters.

Imposing metal walls with a doorway under a large green radioactivity symbol.


Coach Ty Cobb is channeling the immersive arts to empower inner city youth to help other younger inner city youth by creating a safe and exciting environment to hang out in and engaging programs that they – the youth – are ultimately in charge of.

A series of rusty asylum doors set into a industrial walls with especially tall ceilings.

Learn more on this website… where you’ll also see our quote in support of this mission.

In Coach Ty’s Words

Here in Memphis, there are a lot of articles and social media posts about people not going to restaurants or other entertainment outings because of fear of crime. When our next facility is built, we will be able to pay 1,250 high school Interns to train over 10,000 at-risk youth, once a week. Each week the training takes place at urban schools and once a month the youth come to the CoreFire themed facility to experience fun, immersive missions in the escape rooms.

A large performing arts stage with an urban, industrial, graffitied aesthetic. The stage is dramatically lit.

CoreFire Commandos elementary and CoreFire Commandos high school: The CoreFire Commando comic book rescue team inspire individuals experiencing a catastrophe, oppression, or injustice to be their own hero. All escape room missions are themed around being part of the CoreFire Commando rescue team. The Commandos are ordinary people who have gone through extraordinary training.

My hope is that through your introduction we’ll rally some escape room enthusiasts around the idea of adding escape rooms to community centers in under resourced neighborhoods.


Current donations now going toward the production of the next video that will be used to not only tell the story of “youth inspiring youth” but the video will also be used to kick off the capital campaign for our next facility.

This video is a vehicle to get five student Interns (under-resourced, urban youth) to make a presentation to a high-end donor capable of making a multi-million-dollar lead gift to kick off the capital campaign. These “Lead Gift” meetings/ presentations will be filmed and be part of the documentary telling the origin story about this new way to inspire at-risk youth, focusing on teaching through immersive experiences.

Room Escape Artist donated earlier this week. Please join us in supporting Coach Ty’s mission to bring escape rooms to community centers in under resourced neighborhoods.*

*If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about potentially making a truly substantial gift, please contact us, and we will put you in touch with Coach Ty Cobb directly. He has a lot of more detailed documentation available about the project.


  1. I’m Al Edwards a native Memphian and I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work closely with Coach Ty, and I can’t express enough how much I support CoreFire’s mission. Coach Ty’s dedication to empowering youth through immersive experiences is truly inspiring. The idea of using escape rooms to create a safe and exciting environment for inner-city youth is groundbreaking. I’ve witnessed firsthand how Coach Ty’s passion, energy, and commitment are channeled into transforming the lives of young people. His belief in the power of play and immersive learning has and will continue to drive real societal change. If you’re as passionate about supporting our youth and our community as I am, I encourage you to join me in contributing to Coach Ty’s mission. Your support can make a real difference. Let’s be a part of this transformative journey!

    1. I’ve had the honor of meeting Coach Ty a few months ago and what I observed immediately was his heart to change young people lives. Honestly, my first thought was this old white man can’t relate to young black youth. After, experiencing the escape room myself. My creativeness instinct came alive. I began visualize thousands of challenged youth lives being touch, redirected, and given exposure to trades, vocational, coping skills, etc. I was once a troubled youth, growing up and if I had the opportunity that the escape room offers it would have had a HUGE impact. Our company Blackman Music Group, Inc has done creative music and video productions in Miami Dade County Public and inner cities. What we have been enable to accomplish is phenomenal. However, Coach Ty approach in my humble opinion is out the box and innovative. We look forward to participating more and providing our expertise to assist with growth and expansions of Coach Ty vision. If you’re looking to invest in a project with purpose, value, and integrity, look no further.

      1. Coach Ty has an amazing ability to bring different types of people together. And his impact is so empowering. Thank you for sharing your story!

    2. I have been an actor in Ty’s escape rooms for years and have led many groups of participants through them. I say they are Ty’s because, to save money, he physically built the themed 16 room course all by himself. Right now, we are working on a new and exciting series of CoreFire Escape Room missions with Coach Ty. I can’t wait to see how these new courses impact the community! These immersive scripts are especially tailored towards participants in drug rehab programs. We are not trying to replace the wonderful work that rehab programs do, but to compliment and reinforce it by providing an exciting experience that encourages purposeful group discussions that help participants reflect on and identify key character traits that will be invaluable to them as they work to change their lives. The discussions we have witnessed during these immersive ‘missions’ are demonstrating that we are on the right path to developing a powerful tool that rehab programs around the world will be able to use. Coach Ty has created a really unique atmosphere that draws in talented people who can work together to create these incredible programs. If all this sounds intriguing to you, consider joining our team as we word towards our goal of impacting our community and providing those who so often fall through the cracks with the opportunities they need to change their lives for the better.

      1. Wow! The new missions sound especially impactful. I hope we get to visit at some point and see this all in action!

  2. I was able to be a part of the core fire program both as a student and a leader! It has provided me with friends for life, as well as the skills to succeed, both personally and professionally. It really helped me become a leader and learn to take ownership of the situation. Looking forward to seeing this program grow and continue to help Memphis!

  3. Hi, I met Coach Ty at a networking event in Memphis, and he shared his world of these escape rooms with me. Just the strategy of having youth mentored and trained by students just a few years older is amazing. We’re all role models at every age, whether we like it or not, but youth don’t want to look up to their parents’ ages, they follow the example of their older peers. I had the privilege of helping make the first promo video and see firsthand four CoreFire actors lead a group of adult drug rehab graduates for their first experience. They loved it, as did I, and couldn’t stop talking about the interactive experience and all the puzzles they did together that created teamwork and camaraderie. Ty’s escape rooms are unique in that they’re more of a maze with 12 stations that allow an endless crowd to pass through every 5 minutes. And to have youth lead the experience, but then ultimately at the top are adult leaders with heart and experience such as Coach Ty who provide training, I can imagine the generational fruit of these young leaders being inspired for life.

    1. This story is so inspiring. Coach Ty is an escape room innovator, in terms of audience and in terms of game design. We need more people like him, bending the confines of this industry to support our communities!

  4. I worked for Ty in high school and college, and consider him a life-long mentor. His passion for experiential education is unmatched, and his unique vision to create excitement in the lives of students and adults alike is unparalleled. CoreFire takes everything he’s done and takes it to the next level!

  5. I first met Ty back in 2015 at a series of public meetings that were focused on redeveloping our City fairgrounds in Memphis. Ty is a true visionary mixed with a heart and a strong grasp of what type of experiences help our youth grow into to healthy young adults.

    Corefire is all about experiential learning set in a fun environment where participants learn skills while making connections with other youth and mentors. When intense learning experiences forge new friendships, you get critical social connections that youth need to create a path forward in their transition into adulthood. We all need a village of people to help raise us. Ty is creating that place for the youth!

    Ty has been working tirelessly for the last 10+ years to bring this vision to fruition, but there is only so much he can do without some serious financial backing, I am hoping people will step up to help fund this promotional video that he can then bring to perspective long term supporters who will ensure that Ty has the proper backing to make this much needed venue happen! Let’s make this happen!

    1. I hope that all these wonderful messages about this project, like your own, will help get Coach Ty the funding for the next step. I believe our community at Room Escape Artist can help.

  6. I had the honor of also being a part of the Core Fire program as a student intern and a leader/coach. I was able to lead, learn from, and even contribute to this and so many people that were involved. This is such an amazing way for people from all backgrounds to have a unique opportunity to pour into the youth. I started when I was only in the 10th grade, and this system was huge in showing me how to lead peers and even professionals from companies like FedEx. With the dedication of empowering the youth, the deep love and care for the city, and the insanely exciting atmosphere, there is truly no other experience like it. Our city needs people who care for our kids and this program is the way to do it!

  7. When the next CoreFire facility is built, with the collaboration of escape room designers from around the world, this will forever change the way schools and community centers are built. Finally.

    Next generation classrooms will be themed to support immersive teaching. A teacher will provide instruction about algebra. Then the student desks are connected, creating teams where enthusiastic students work together following an entertaining script which includes overcoming challenges where they must use algebra. Each classroom in a school or community center should have a different movie-set theme.

    Teachers recruit students to help create the scripts and to constantly update the theming. The best scripts, and supporting challenges, are shared among schools and community centers. How can this type of collaboration get started? Lisa and David Spira have already started it! It is happening this coming weekend in the free to attend virtual Room Escape Artist conference called RECON.

    Share this article with teachers, principals, architects, politicians, rehab therapists, juvenile court facilitators, etc. Anyone who is involved in the process of designing schools and community centers. Let them know, the days of building traditional schools and community centers will soon be behind us. The new era of teaching that includes immersive experiences is upon us. Just in time to bring communities together.

    The way Lisa and David run/manage Room Escape Artist is what humans should aspire to. Total unselfish collaboration mixed with humor and having fun!

    1. Thank you! You are an inspiration to us and we are so happy to help support your mission with CoreFire.

  8. I am a CoreFire intern ready to speak on the next CoreFire video! When you wake up in the morning, what are you most excited about doing? What is your spark? We call that your CoreFire! Too many youths in under resourced neighborhoods don’t have a CoreFire. I am ready to tell this story!

    We inspire youth who are losing hope to try a vocation, or an arts program, so they can discover skills that bring them joy. All this is done through fun, immersive experiences, so youth want to continue their training. I’m proud to be a part of this monumental development, and I can’t wait to continue collaborating with Coach Ty and my peer interns as the CoreFire family expands! Will you join us?

  9. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve probably heard of how the new generation of youth are involved in the wrong crowd, lacks certain skills, or is lost. I come from this generation, and I don’t want that to be true. The dedication and work CoreFire is doing, and that I’ve helped with, has shown me those statements don’t have to be true. It may take a bit of elbow grease and some hopeful donors, but our next Lead Gift video is a start at making sure those statements are the furthest thing from the truth.

    I’m Lelan Odom, one of the student interns that may be helping pitch this unique system geared toward community change created by Coach Ty. In a nutshell, CoreFire can have the reach to train 10,000 youth a week and create a new lens for this generation to be seen through. How can this be done? Help us tell this important story by funding this production. Then you and many others will learn how this unique training system is going to change communities in Memphis. After that, get ready because we can bring CoreFire to your city!

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