Students will soon be returning to school, but My.Future kept members of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore’s Brooklyn O’Malley Club learning during the summer break. My.Future enabled them to select from more than 40 activities to help them understand how to safely and productively engage online, and identify and develop digital interests.
“I have been coming to this center since I was in the kindergarten,” said 12-year-old Antonio, who will be entering sixth-grade in the fall. “The My.Future technology program is great. I have learned so much about computers and technology. I have also learned how to stay safe, respect the rules, not to fight, and to mind my manners. This camp has definitely kept me out of trouble.”
The program aimed to combat learning loss for members through the “Hour of Code Program”, summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities and their summer “100 Book Challenge” program. More than 45 members ages six to 12 and 14 to 17 participated in My.Future activities five times per week to cultivate their thinking and prepare them for careers in the technology field. The six-week program began June 27, 2016, and concluded August 5, 2016.
The Brooklyn O’Malley Club is also one of 16 community centers across Baltimore City that is part of Comcast’s Internet Essentials Learning Zone, a network of community partners working together to create a continuum of connectivity that begins online in classrooms, then extends to community centers, computer labs, and after-school programs and finally ends at home. The club is located at 3560 3rd Street in Brooklyn.
“Our main goal is to provide safe places in environments that need it most,” said Matthew P. Death, vice president of Corporate and Business Partnerships for the Boy & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore. “We find that you can’t ignore the summer months when it comes to developing and learning.”
He added, “We also try to provide support and allow the kids to thrive in places where they don’t have a lot of resources. The kids are very receptive, which is fuel for us.”
According to STEMconnector®, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs in the U.S. are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as other fields by 2018. There will be more than 8 million STEM jobs in the U.S. by 2018, but three million of them may go unfilled because of a lack of people with required skills.
“We try to make sure our teens are being developed in an employment capacity,” said Death. “We are living in a world where technology is a necessity when it comes to employment. We want to do what we can to make sure they don’t fall behind.”
My.Future also provided an opportunity for participants to develop digital interests, earn certifications, and to develop skills they will need to pursue promising careers in high demand fields.
“Today’s youth are digital natives, but there is a skills divide between young people who simply consume data as entertainment and kids who can apply data analytically and creatively,” said Brad Palazzo, director of External Affairs for Comcast’s Beltway Region. “Through My.Future, Baltimore kids and teens will have the chance to interact with technology in meaningful ways and prepare for great futures.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore seeks to inspire and enable all young people, particularly underserved, at-risk youth in severely distressed communities in Baltimore City, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe haven for close to 5,000 of Baltimore’s children and are making a difference by providing them with life-skills training, meals, academic enhancement programs, and many more services.