Monday, July 28, 2008

Boys & Girls Clubs Members Gain High-Tech Experience

GFP Note: Kudos to Georgia's own Gabriel Jones, 12, Columbus, Ga., who brought attention to the positive environmental change that can occur in her graphic design entry, Global Cooling.

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Summer vacation is a time reserved for students to get a break from school, but for 16 youth, learning continued with a hands-on experience in art and technology. Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) recently recognized its National Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals winners with an educational yet fun and engaging trip to Minneapolis.

Annually, Microsoft and Best Buy Children's Foundation sponsor the Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals, celebrating the creativity and technical abilities of Boys & Girls Club members across the globe. During the 2007-2008 school year, Club members were challenged to create digital
artwork reflecting the theme "Our Changing World" and how they can make a change in the world today. More than 900 entries were submitted to the contest that covered five categories: photo illustration, music making, movie making, web design, and graphic design.

"The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival brings a world of opportunity to our members, allowing them to experiment and explore the limitless possibilities of their imagination and creativity, and perhaps discover a potential career path," said Roxanne Spillett, CEO and president, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "It's amazing what our young people can do when given access to technology."

The winners, ranging in age from 10 to 18 experienced first-hand the diverse career opportunities that lie ahead through behind-the-scenes tours at Best Buy and Microsoft. Employees from various departments of both companies shared career choices and personal experiences with the youth, opening their eyes to the many ways they could employ their technology skills in a future career. Winners also visited some of Minneapolis' top tourist destinations, including the Mall of America, Science Museum and worked alongside students at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

"Creating programs that inspire and engage kids to pursue careers in technology is not just a good thing to do, it is an economic imperative," said Todd Cione, Microsoft's North Central District General Manager and a member of the board of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. "At Microsoft we are delighted to be able to partner with great organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Best Buy Children's Foundation, who are so deeply committed to helping kids connect their passions with skills that position them for bright career paths."

By 2010, more than 77 percent of all jobs in the United States will require some tech ability. And as the knowledge economy continues to evolve, more and more American workers will need higher levels of technology skills training and education to compete successfully in the global economy.

The Club Tech partnership helps to combat this trend and promote technology knowledge and skill in America's youth by providing access to technology and educational programming. The Digital Arts Festivals National Winners' trip is one way Club Tech levels the "virtual playing field," giving youth the opportunity to explore technology on a level that may not otherwise be available.

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