Cross posted from the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Blog.

Yesterday in Atlanta I had the great pleasure of attending the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Digital Arts Festival. This is one of my favorite events of the year where we get to see incredible entries from kids across America who have brought their creativity to life using technology.

 

You can see examples of the amazing entries on the Digital Arts Festival gallery website

BGCA provides programs and services in communities across the United States - and on U.S. military bases around the world. They give millions of American kids a safe, fun place to learn and grow. It’s this focus on not only supporting children, but giving them access to knowledge and skills, that drove our initial partnership with the Club over a decade ago.

That partnership led to the creation of the Club Tech program, which today provides over a million children a year with access to technology and with access to the skills they need to use that technology. We’re very proud that the initiative continues to grow and we are delighted that Comcast joined the program earlier this year.

There is a lot of discussion about the importance of innovation and creativity for our future social and economic prosperity. I think the Digital Arts Festival provides a great showcase of what’s possible when you provide our kids with the skills they need to use the latest technology. The combination of those skills with their own creativity and passion delivers outstanding results.

This year kids ranging in ages from 6 to 18 competed in four categories:

  • Photo Illustration: create a digital photo that illustrates how Club members become successful in life. The submission has to be a full-page, color magazine advertisement that encouraged their peers to BE GREAT.
  • Music Making: create an inspirational jingle that can teach their peers to BE GREAT through music.
  • Graphic Design: follow the same format as the national “BE GREAT” advertising campaign and design a billboard celebrating the success of a local community member.
  • Movie Making: write or produce a three minute public service announcement or documentary illustrating why graduating from high school is important to their future, their peers, and the world at large.

The national Digital Arts Festival winners travelled to BGCA headquarters in Atlanta from Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and even Japan. They had an action packed time which culminated in the awards ceremony which was ably hosted by Kawamba Metuassalol. Myself and Cyndi Court and Judith Pickens from BGCA had the honor of showcasing the winners’ incredible work –which you can see at the online gallery – and presenting the awards.

Our future success depends on our children. Organizations like BGCA are having a real positive impact on kids across the country and giving them the opportunity to Be Great. It takes a lot of work, and we need to recognize the passion and commitment of the Clubs’ staff, mentors, parents and volunteers, who along with the kids, bring these communities alive.

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My congratulations to all the competitors and the winners, your passion, energy, enthusiasm and creativity is simply inspiring.

You can find out more about the event at the BGCA Facebook page.

Posted by Pamela Passman
CORPORATE VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL CORPORATE AFFAIRS