Be Creative: Youth Wins Regional Club Tech Digital Arts Festival in Design Tech

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Children's Aid Society Boys & Girls Club Member to Compete for National Title and Prizes

Contact:

Jennifer Benator, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 404-487-5962, jbenator@bgca.org

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 3, 2010 – For the 8th Annual Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals, Boys & Girls Club members across the country were encouraged to follow in the footsteps of notable Boys & Girls Club alumni such as Denzel Washington, Mario Lopez and Usher, and Be Creative in depicting the greatness within their Club. Andrew Martin was encouraged to engage in unique forms of artistic expression to create a digital piece of art in the Design Tech category. His entry not only creatively captured this theme, but it brought home the top honor for the Northeast region in the 10-12 age group. Now on behalf of Children’s Aid Society and the East Harlem Boys & Girls Club, Martin will vie for the national title and a $500 reward to the Club to honor his great efforts and accomplishments.

The Digital Arts Festivals are a dynamic component of the national Club Tech program, a partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of America, founding sponsor Microsoft and Comcast with the goal to provide youth with the skills needed to thrive in a technology-driven world.

In contests held locally, regionally and nationally, the Digital Arts Festivals celebrate the creativity and technical abilities of area Boys & Girls Club members. Members are encouraged to combine these elements to generate a digital masterpiece in one of four categories—photo illustration, music production, filmmaking and graphic design. Members created artwork that reflected this year’s theme “BE CREATIVE.” From magazine ads and bumper stickers or billboards, to clay animations or PSAs and digital music, the artwork was judged based on age, artistic merit and demonstrated technological skills of the members.

Martin is a member of The Children’s Aid Society East Harlem Center Technology Playground’s Tech Squad. Throughout the year, the youth in the Tech Squad work on various project-based learning activities and projects. Some of the projects are geared to the BGCA Digital Arts curriculum as well as other learning and educational curriculums. As the groups were working on various projects, Martin and a few other Tech Squad members decided to make various bumper stickers to enter into the Digital Arts Festivals.

Martin mentioned that he wanted to design a sticker that would stand out and send a positive message to youth. He believes that youth need to feel/be positive and confident, and that this outlook will help them reach their dreams. Martin didn’t want to create something that was just pleasing to the eye, proclaimed membership or stood as an advertisement. He stated that he really enjoys using the computer to illustrate his beliefs and that “you can create such wonderful and fun things.”

“Technology know-how is almost always expected in the world today. Thus, it is important that we help spark the imagination, and help our youth discover potential career paths so that they will bewell-prepared for the future. The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival does just that. It helps develop members’ creativity and allows them to play with the limitless possibilities of their imagination,” said Karen McDonald, vice president, Program & Youth Development Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “The experience gained from this event will help carry our young people through grade school into college and into the career world.”

Through Club Tech, members are introduced to the world of clay animation, robotics, game design, digital movie making, photo illustration, graphic design, music production and Web design. Youth follow an interactive, age-appropriate curriculum and complete various projects throughout the year.

National teen winners receive an expenses-paid summer trip that includes sightseeing and job-shadowing experiences. In years past, winners have visited the headquarters of Microsoft in Seattle, Best Buy in Minneapolis and Boys & Girls Clubs of America in Atlanta to get a behind-the-scenes peek at potential careers.

This year, teens (ages 13-18) will venture to Atlanta for four days and four nights of fun-filled educational and career exploration experiences. Winners in the youth division (ages 6-12) will receive $500 per category to the Club to hold an event or day trip to honor their national winners.

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 Club 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 allows Clubs to integrate technology into every aspect of the organizations’ fabric, from overall management to core programs.

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 long-time 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.

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