EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Best Buy Foundation and Meta are partnering to expose kids to more high-tech tools at the Boys and Girls Club in East Palo Alto. The kids will learn robotics, design and use headsets provided by Meta.
"Like maybe many of you, growing up I did not have a place like this. I would’ve loved a place like this," said Colan Sewell, with Meta Community Engagement.
For the first time, Meta is partnering with the Best Buy Foundation to give teens in underserved communities more access to technology that goes beyond cell phones and basic computers. The tech center at the Boys and Girls Club in East Palo Alto is the first of six locations Meta plans to open within a year.
"Now we’re sort of thinking about what does that transition in to, and it’s critical for us to expose folks, primarily kids, at an early age to understand the ability for them to become creators or even for them to start thinking about being engineers and so forth," said Juan Salazar, Community Engagement Director for Meta.
For the grand opening, the children played a round of soccer in the gymnasium and held a dancing competition for some entertainment. The site director of the clubhouse says they serve 150 students, K through 12, providing after school and extended school day learning.
"And in the tech space, we have Vashon who’s our tech director, who’s here all day every day doing classes. So there might be a coding class or there might be a rug-making class, a specific class. But there are also just drop-in hours. If you’re a curious student who wants to just come in and try out the equipment, there’s space available for that too with the support," said Lena Potts, Site Director for the East Palo Alto Peninsula Boys & Girls Club.
After the activities, students were able to check out some of the new technology at the center and got gift items from Meta. Best Buy has been opening Teen Tech Centers around the country for years and now has 50 tech center locations.
"So, if you’re interested in learning more about technology and working with customers and maybe Geek Squad. I think Geek Squad is so cool. I think Jason from Geek Squad is here. It’s amazing what you can do and get paid for it, right? And really build skills and build careers," said Andrea Wood, with Best Buy Social Impact.