HOLYOKE, Mass. (Jan. 12, 2009) –Gabriel Rodriguez, 11, worked hard to create a photo illustration reflecting the natural design of the world around him for the seventh annual Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals.  Recently, his hard work paid off as he was named a regional winner for the contest that had over 450 entries nationwide. 

Rodriguez received a plaque and Microsoft Zune Mp3 player and moved on to represent the Northeast region at the national competition.

The Digital Arts Festival is part of the national Club Tech program, a partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Microsoft and Best Buy Children’s Foundation.  In contests held locally, regionally and nationally, Boys & Girls Clubs members across the world are encouraged to combine creativity with technology know-how to create a digital masterpiece in one of five categories – photo illustration, music production, filmmaking, graphic design and website development.

Rodriguez’s entry, Nature, was required to fall under the theme “The Nature of Design” and was judged based upon age, power of expression, originality and technological skill demonstrated.

“While computers and digital cameras are widely used these days, at Boys & Girls Clubs we think its important to teach youth how to use both in a way that prepares them for the future,” said Dan Rauzi, senior director, Youth and Technology Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival gives our members a chance to get creative and participate in friendly competition.  Our ultimate goal, however, is to prepare them for a world in which technology know-how is almost always expected.”

Through Club Tech’s Digital Arts program, members like Rodriguez learn how to produce movies, music, graphics, photo illustrations and Web sites.

The Club Tech Digital Arts Festival is one of many ways Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Microsoft and Best Buy Children’s Foundation hope to provide Holyoke-area youth with essential technology training.  On a national scale, the partnership provides some 4.8 million youth served through membership and community outreach in more than 4,300 Clubs with free software, curricula and computer training.

For more information, visit www.bgca.org.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Club Tech Program

Club Tech was created by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) and Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) in 2000 to technology enable Clubs worldwide, transforming Clubs from “swim & gym” to “point and click.”  Partnering with long-time supporter Best Buy Children’s Foundation (www.bestbuy.com) and Microsoft, BGCA provides technology program access to some 4.8 million youth served through Club membership and community outreach at more than 4,300 Clubs.  By leveling the “virtual playing field,” kids of all ages and circumstances now have access to the same resources and skills to help them discover their world; expand creativity; perform better in school, and eventually take their technology know-how into the workplace.

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