Posted by Pamela Passman Corporate Vice President
There are few institutions that can boast an alumni list that includes Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Brad Pitt and Bill Clinton. There are even fewer that have been positively impacting the lives of young people for over 100 years.
But that’s exactly what Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) has been doing. BGCA challenges kids to “BE GREAT” while providing a supportive environment that fosters learning and development. In fact, some 52 percent of Club alumni feel that the Club saved their life. BGCA’s incredible work is helping kids across the United States and on U.S .military bases around the world.
BGCA has been consistently successful because it adapts to the changing needs of our youth, while providing a consistent, supportive environment in the neighborhoods where it operates.
The BGCA’s commitment to innovation attracted Microsoft to form a partnership with the organization that has evolved into the Club Tech program. Eleven years later our partnership is stronger than ever. Club Tech makes technology training available to 4.5 million children in over 4,300 locations. Club Tech provides kids of all ages, and from all backgrounds, the resources and skills they need to showcase their creativity, perform better in school and eventually take their technology know-how into the workplace.
Many Microsoft employees are proud to be a part of the Club Tech program, volunteering their time, expertise and energy to help Club Tech. They participate on boards and committees across the country and Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices division at Microsoft, currently serves as the chairman of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Board of Governors.
The impact of these programs was brought home to me last week when I had the privilege of attending the awards ceremony for this year’s National Club Tech Digital Arts Festival. The competition challenged kids from across the world, ranging in ages from 10- to 18-years-old , to use technology to create photo illustrations, music, films, graphics and Web sites based on the theme, the “Nature of Design.”
The winners’ projects were inspiring, showcasing their creativity and the technical skills they have learned through the Club’s technology training services. These kids are our future graphic designers, filmmakers, photographers, writers, Web developers and musicians. They spent an incredible week in Atlanta going behind the scenes at CNN, the Art Institute and the Georgia Aquarium, as well as getting the chance to see and use the very latest Microsoft technologies at one of our conferences in Atlanta.
In the current economic environment, we need to focus on how we can provide everyone with the skills they need to find employment. But we also need to ensure that our next generation can get the skills they’ll need to get into college, get a job or to start their own business. BGCA is bringing those skills and resources to our youth, opening up new opportunities and creating the next generation of illustrious alumni.
Here are a few links if you want to find out more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Club Tech program, or browse the winning submissions to this year’s competition.
Congratulations to all of the winners!