Best Buy Teen Tech Center Awards $150,000 Grant to YMCA of Greater Kansas City

YMCA of Greater Kansas City was recently awarded a $150,000 grant, over 3 years from the Best Buy Teen Tech Center to launch a Best Buy Teen Tech Center and offer programming designed for teenagers to learn in a non-traditional way, with training in Music, Multimedia, Video, Graphics, Digital Photography, Engineering and Animation.

Teens will leverage technology to develop projects based on their own interests such as creating art; producing music and animations; designing their own science simulations and mobile applications; writing and illustrating interactive poetry, stories and films; building kinetic sculptures and robotic constructions; and designing their own 3D worlds and games. These interactive learning spaces will help teens explore technology to discover new interests, collaborate with one another and prepare for the future.

STEM is an important component of the curriculum framework in the following programs across the Kansas City Y association: Early Learning, Y-Club before/after school, summer camp, and Young Achievers. Youth in these programs experience informal learning and maker opportunities through hands-on projects and field trips. STEM activities are also incorporated into member benefits such as Kids Zone (childcare provided for members) and Kids Night Out (monthly respite for parents). The Kansas City Y believes that the arts are also an important part of this work and believes that the acronym should actually be STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). At the NKC Y, computers are more than just tools to get things done. Teens who participate in learning at the Teen Tech Center will use computers both for their class work and in their hobbies. They have developed a wide range of interests. They are not locked into one thing, although all are highly motivated and pursue their interests with a passion. Doing hands-on projects, working in groups, and applying step-by-step problem-solving strategies optimizes the environment for STEM skill development and innovation.

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City (the Kansas City Y) was founded in 1860. Founded as the seventh YMCA in the North American YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) movement, the Kansas City Y has over 158 years of experience in meeting the holistic needs of community members of all ages. The Y improves the quality of people’s lives by helping them develop healthy habits; helping children connect to caring adults through sports and youth development programs; and by providing opportunities to meet new people and serve the community. The Kansas City Y impacts more than 140,000 unique individuals annually at 13 membership centers and 100 program sites serving Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties in Missouri, and Wyandotte and Johnson counties in Kansas.