Great Futures: Tech Savvy Teens Travel to Atlanta to Explore Future Careers Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Digital Arts Festival Winners take skills from the Tech Center to the Board Room

ATLANTA, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- For 11 teens, last week proved to be an eye-opening – and unforgettable – experience. From a conversation with one of the founding principals of a leading communications company and a tour of a world-renowned college of design; to an exclusive tour of one of the nation's largest media companies and visits to some of Atlanta's greatest tourist sites, teens from around the world enjoyed a week of learning how to integrate technology and art skills into real life experiences and careers.

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Boys & Girls Club members traveled to Atlanta as a part of their reward for being named national winners of the eighth annual National Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals. The trip was filled with hands-on experiences in the art and technology worlds. The 11 teen members took part in interactive workshops at the Atlanta campus of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); a behind-the-scenes look at creative careers at Cartoon Network; and mock job shadowing at Jackson Spalding, one of the largest communications firms in the Southeast. They capped the week by visiting Microsoft Corporation's national conference, MGX, for a preview of new technologies to come.

"Our Club encourages us to use video, music and art to express ourselves. We produce videos and movies that reflect our views about current events, or pieces that we hope will promote social change," said Richard, a Digital Arts Festival national winner in the Movie Tech category and member of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula in East Palo Alto, Calif. "Throughout the week, I got a glimpse of how the videos I produce for fun can turn into a career. I'm excited about improving my skills, so I can be successful in companies like the ones we visited - a communications agency or a television network."

Throughout the year, Boys & Girls Clubs members competed locally with hopes of progressing to the regional competition and finally the national level. Participants were encouraged to combine creativity with technology know-how to create a digital masterpiece in one of four categories – photo illustration, music production, filmmaking and graphic design. Youth, ranging in ages from 6 to 18, submitted more than 900 pieces of original digital artwork, incorporating the theme "BE CREATIVE."

"While many of today's youth utilize technology, we have the opportunity to give our members access to training in a unique way that builds not only their skills but their confidence," said Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). "Through the Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals, we're not only giving them the technology tools they need, but we're also showing them first-hand how they can leverage these skills to be great in their future career choices."

The Festivals are just one way that Boys & Girls Clubs of America, founding sponsor Microsoft and Comcast hope to technologically enable more than 4.2 million youth served by some 4,000 Clubs nationwide and abroad through membership and community outreach. Club Tech also provides software, develops and delivers curricula, and provides program management and computer training for staff and youth. The sponsorship enables Clubs to integrate technology into every aspect of the organizations' fabric, from overall management to core programs

"Our future success depends on our children," commented Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs.  "Organizations like BGCA are having a positive impact on kids across the country and are giving them the opportunity to Be Great, which is one of the reasons we are so proud of our partnership with BGCA.  Innovation and creativity are critical to our country's social and economic prosperity.  The Digital Arts Festival provides a great showcase of what's possible when you provide kids with skills and access to the latest technology. The combination of those skills with their own creativity and passion delivers outstanding results."

According to a recent study by the University of Washington's Center for Information & Society, the technology access kids get outside of school is an important complement to the learning that happens in the classroom. Researchers found that through Club Tech, Boys & Girls Club members not only learned the fundamentals of computers, but they also learned how to harness technology in a way that made them more literate in current affairs and other topics that spill over from school and home.

"The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival goes beyond just providing access to computers. This experience affords all youth the opportunity to become productive citizens in a global economy that's driven by technology," added Spillett. "We are extremely proud of our winners as they are living proof that we're having a positive impact on the lives of the young people we serve."

The following Boys & Girls Club members were recognized as national winners:


-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, AZ

The Be Great Rocketship by Naidelly R., Pilar A. and Cesar A., Movie Making

Be a Champion by Olena M., Graphic Design

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo, MI

Being Great by Yatesha W., RayJean W. and Arieyonna T., Movie Making

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Middlesex County, MA

Be Great by Carlo G., Guerschom J.L. and David T., Movie Making

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, CA

Be Great! Graduate! by Betzy P., Richard K. and Alexis G., Movie Making

Amazing by Ulysses T., Music Making

Sky's The Limit by Ruben B., Music Making

-- Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, RI

Big Dreaming by Marlin D., Music Making

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, CA

Where I Wanna BE by Basil B., Music Making

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, WA

Favorite Color by Cooper B., Photo Illustration

BE by Naima Y., Photo Illustration

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, FL

Super Member by Celeste C, Photo Illustration

-- Boys & Girls Club of Iwakuni, Japan

Create by Mikhael C., Photo Illustration

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, WI

Be Thankful by Ariyanna F., Graphic Design

-- Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland, MI

Be Amazing, But Be You by Jaime M., Graphic Design

-- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, NE

Ms. Julie by Jay J., Graphic Design




For more information about the above winners or to view their artwork, please visit www.bgca.org/digitalart.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America's Club Tech Program

Club Tech was created by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) in 2000 to technologically enable Clubs worldwide, transforming Clubs from "swim and gym" to "point and click." Partnering with longtime supporter Comcast (www.comcast.com) and Microsoft, BGCA provides technology program access to some 4.2 million youth served through Club membership and community outreach at some 4,000 Clubs. By leveling the virtual playing field, kids of all ages and circumstances now have access to the same resources and skills to help them discover their world, expand creativity, perform better in school, and eventually take their technology know-how into the workplace.

SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America



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