More than 100 people gathered for the unveiling of the new Boys & Girls Club Teen Technology Center on Wednesday.
With enough equipment to create the newest video game, music app, or television show, the venue offers local teenagers a chance to learn how to use the technology that will be vital to their potential future careers, said Ryan Scott, VP and COO of Belleuve Boys and Girls Club.
“We’re putting high-end technology in teens hands because it has become a lifeskill, no just a hobby,” Scott said. “In today’s world, especially in this area, you have to be technologically fluent and for some kids this may be the only place they have access to it.”
The new tech center was built as part of a collaboration between the club and Best Buy, which invested $90,000 in equipment and operational funds as part of its outreach program.
Bellevue was just of of four locations across the country selected for the grant.
“We’re situated in the right place,” Scott said. “There’s a misnomer of what Bellevue’s needs are. We’re so thrilled Best Buy recognized the need and we’re thrilled they chose us.”
After a short presentation from Best Buy and members of the Boys & Girls Club board, the kids got their first chance to test out all the new gear.
Rosemarie Bateman, 11, of Bellevue, already knew the general concepts of a Makey Makey, an electronic circuitboard system, which connects objects to a computer to be used as anything from a musical keyboard to a video game controller.
“The circuits are connected to the computer and when you make a closed circuit you can do a lot of things like play games or music,” Bateman said.
Scott said the club serves more than 100 kids from the Bellevue area daily, and more than 4,000 annually, and the new center will go a long way to provide even better opportunities for the teens.