ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Gambling firm IGT has donated an $18,000 computer lab to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Area. The cutting edge technology suite, Delaware Avenue Clubhouse in Albany, will be used in IGT’s after-school Advantage program.

In a statement, IGT said the new lab will help the Boys and Girls Club in their efforts to bridge the “digital divide” which has seen people from disadvantaged backgrounds struggle due to a lack of access to technology.

At the lab’s unveiling, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan spoke about how vital it was to keep students engaged during this difficult time, and how grateful she was that IGT and the Boys and Girls club were helping students stay connected to educational opportunities in and after school.

“Keeping our students connected and engaged during this challenging school year is an important goal that we must all come together and achieve. I am encouraged to see that the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Area not only is working to achieve this goal but is also going above and beyond in helping prepare students for success in our future economy.”

Mayor Kathy Sheehan
(D) Albany
©Mitch Wojnarowicz Photographer IGT at Albany Boys and Girls Club. Computer room equipment donation

A number of programs will be offered at the Club’s new computer lab, including:

Lyricism – Arts program designed to cultivate and amplify the powerful voices of teens, giving them an opportunity to tell their stories, build community, and express their artistic visions through music expression. Lyricism increases participants’ skills in the following areas: creative writing, business practice, music production, studio engineering, video production, and language development. Lyricism 101 also builds self-esteem while providing a safe place for kids to express their ideas.

Maker Program – Maker education or project-based learning, draws on the idea that students learn from doing; building knowledge and skills by using hands-on activities to solve complex problems. Design-based learning is one example of project-based learning. Students learn concepts in real-time while designing something they can be proud of. Through our Makerspace, Club members are transformed into active creators and innovators.

Workforce Readiness – Prepares teens for the world of careers and work. Club teens 13-18 years old embark on a journey to explore possible vocations, make sound educational decisions, and find success in the world of work. Teens will utilize computers to research careers, develop resumes and cover letters, complete trainings and submit applications.

Club Tech – A cutting-edge technology education program that provides hands-on experience and enables Boys & Girls Club members to select from more than 40 activities to help them understand how to safely and productively engage online, and identify and develop digital interests – from Internet basics for technology beginners, to robotics, coding, game design and online journalism for advanced learners. The program will include Hour of Code, which offers popular “Minecraft” tutorials and other learning games, and CS Unplugged, a collection of computational-thinking lessons involving string, crayons and various non-computer activities. The program will also include access to App Lab, a programming environment to create simple apps.

Family Digital Literacy Classes – Family engagement is a huge component of BGCCA programs. This class will offer digital literacy classes to families in topics such as internet safety, cyberbullying, Microsoft office tutorials and more.

The computer lab will serve the Clubhouse’s estimated 500 youth, families, community members, and staff throughout the Capital Region.

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Capital Area Executive Director, Justin Reuter, talked about the impact the lab could have on the future of the program’s participants:

IGT’s donation of a computer lab not only allows us to build the necessary foundation to assist with virtual learning but also provides the required technology to help our members explore futures in the STEAM field.”

Justin Reuter
Executive Director, BGCCA

Since the launch of IGT’s After School Advantage Program in April 1999, IGT has installed computer centers in 27 states and in a number of countries, including Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Colombia.