Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft Honor National Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals Winners

/PRNewswire/ -- While there is no question that today's generation is incredibly savvy when it comes to technology, many question how well-prepared they are for the 21st century workplace. Yet today, Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals, featuring some of the youngest and brightest tech talents, delivered a resounding, positive answer.

Boys & Girls Clubs members from across the world journeyed to Atlanta as reward for being named national winners of the annual contest. The trip was filled with hands-on experiences in the art and technology worlds. The 25 youth members took part in interactive workshops at the Art Institute of Atlanta and the global public relations firm, Manning Selvage & Lee. Participants also visited CNN, World of Coke and the Georgia Aquarium for behind-the-scenes view of what it takes to keep the tourist destinations going.

"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 the skills they've gained to be great at whatever they choose to pursue."

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 five categories - photo illustration, music production, filmmaking, graphic design and website development. Youth, ranging in age 10 to 18, submitted nearly 1,300 pieces of original digital artwork, incorporating the theme "Nature of Design."

The digital arts competition is only one component of Club Tech, a partnership between Microsoft and BGCA that aims to equip America's youth with the skills needed to succeed in school and the workplace. The initiative successfully integrates software training, digital curriculum and hands-on experiences to level the "virtual playing field" for all youth.

"Our young people are central to our future economic success," commented Pamela Passman, corporate vice president of Microsoft Global Corporate Affairs. "It is one of the reasons we are incredibly proud of our ten plus year partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The Clubs provide young people with a supportive environment that fosters learning and growth, and readies them for the jobs of tomorrow. Initiatives like Club Tech and the Digital Arts Festivals offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase creativity using technology, promote digital literacy and expand skills that will not only benefit the participants but our entire society. I want to personally congratulate all of the winners. The quality and ingenuity of the winning projects is incredible."

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 classrooms. 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 from 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 our children."

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

-- Boys & Girls Club of Albany, OR - by Rylan H., Web Design
-- Boys & Girls Club of Huntington Valley, CA - A Better Place by Annie
A., Screenplay Writing
-- Boys & Girls Club of Pleasants County, WV - Pieces of Nature by Javier
Z., Photo Illustration
-- Boys & Girls Club of Rockford, IL, -Nature's Fantasy by Caitlyn C.,
Photo Illustration; People V.S. The Earth by Breanna W., Brendan E.,
Kailie W., Marlin D. and Michael L., Movie Making
-- Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains, Seymour, TN - Bird Song by
Alexis T., Music Making
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue, WA - Scenery, Ivaylo D., Graphic
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, Ft. Lauderdale, FL -
Construction by Desi M. Screenplay Writing
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Seattle, WA - J's Grand Canyon by
Jess J., Web Design; Tree in the Meadow by Naima Y., Graphic Design
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, GA - Outside by Stephen H., Music
-- Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, CO - Northern Lights by Raymond
P., Web Design; Sunny Day by Isaiah G., Graphic Design
-- Camp Zama Youth Center, Japan - Dancing Dandelions by Benjamin S.,
Photo Illustration; The Beauty of Nature by Amanda C., Ariel H.,
Christian C., Jennie R., and Maia W., Movie Making
-- Fort Bliss Youthplex, TX - Whale Song by Jared G., Music Making

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