By: Libby Lescalleet, Executive Program Officer, Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia
When My.Future launched last year, thanks to a partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Comcast NBC Universal, we were overwhelmed by the possibilities it would create for the children in Philadelphia. The program is designed to provide hands-on technology training to equip Club kids with the skills needed to compete in a 21st century economy.
The launch of My.Future allowed us to purchase state-of-the-art equipment that reflects today’s mobile environment, including computers, tablets, digital cameras, music studio tools and photo- and video-editing technology needed to fully implement and teach the My.Future curriculum.
Thanks to this program, our kids are using technology and innovation to reimagine their future.
A great example of this is in our Wayne Avenue Club, where kids have developed a keen interest in photography and its related technology. Thanks to My.Future, we have more than a dozen cameras available for our photography group, ranging from small cameras for young children to DLSRs and GoPros. We offer classes to teach the fundamentals of photography—from how to stay still while taking a photo to adjusting the aperture on the lens. Once the photos are taken, Club kids can then use the My.Future computer lab to transform their photos with technology.
Our Photography Group also includes a smaller selection of Club kids who go on excursions throughout Philadelphia to see all this great city has to offer, through the lens of a camera. In November, we took a trip to Laurel Hill Cemetery for students to take photos and learn the history of the neighborhood and the historical people who shaped our city. We also took the kids to the Philly from the Top opening recently, providing access to some of the best views of the city.
In addition to the skills this program is teaching our Club kids, the My.Future curriculum and the photography program at the Boys & Girls Club is helping shape what students choose to study and the classes they might want to take as they get older. A lot of them are at the middle school age, in the crux of making decisions about what they want to do next.
The most significant impact My.Future has had is to help build their confidence in many STEM-related areas. In just a year, the photography program has shown our young people that they have a talent for something they never knew existed. How often do you see a 10-year-old walking around with a $600 camera, knowing how to use it? At the Boys and Girls Club, this is now something we get to see every day.