The Next Generation Clubhouse, an after school prevention clubhouse for teens, was recently awarded a grant from the Best Buy Foundation to continue engaging teens through technology.
Representatives from Best Buy in Cumming stopped by the Dawsonville clubhouse Sept. 13 with a giant check in hand worth $12,000 that will be used to purchase and upgrade new equipment.
“Best Buy’s committed to supporting organizations like this that gives teens a safe space and gives them access to technology,” said Chad Carlisle, Best Buy Geek Squad Representative. “We’re going to continue just to partner with them and do small classes to help any way we can.”
Next Generation, also called NxTG, began as a small mentoring program more than 20 years and has grown into an independent nonprofit organization serving kids ages 12-17 in Dawson County. It is one of the few prevention clubhouses in Georgia that is funded by Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities.
NxTG believes that all youth should have equal access and opportunities to reach their full potential and is committed to providing opportunities for vulnerable youth in the community. The Clubhouse integrates an established prevention curriculum with STEaM in the hopes of increasing the youth’s ability to navigate the growing global community with important 21st century skills.
From creative and engaging activities, outdoor games, virtual field trips, group projects and community service, thought-provoking discussions from daily video clips and stress and anxiety coping techniques, NxTG provides a well-rounded and fun curriculum for at-risk kids.
The clubhouse entered a partnership with Best Buy last year, with representatives teaching programs for the teens every few weeks.
“We love partnering with Best Buy. They have brought in engaging staff, innovative activities and the kids love it when they come and they ask for when’s the next time they’re coming,” said NxTG Programs Coordinator Ellen Ward. “To see that engagement as well as support in a financial way is huge. It really just shows how integral our partnership is and how excited we are for not only bringing in new equipment to the clubhouse but continuing our relationship with Best Buy.”
Carlisle said the grant is one way Best Buy wants to “to continually support nonprofits like Next Generation.” The other way Best Buy provides support is by teaching lessons at the clubhouse including lessons on coding and circuit boards. Carlisle said they will be teaching stop-motion animation with Legos, teaching a lesson on photography and teaching 3D designing in the future.
“Our goal is to inspire teens to be creators of technology and not just consumers and every time we come here, we see them – that’s what they’re doing,” Carlisle said. “They blow my mind.”
The $12,000 will be used to purchase new 3D printers and upgrade older technology that has been in the clubhouse since it opened six years ago, as well as new laptops so that more kids have access to them at one time, Ward said.
“We want to make sure every kid has access to that equipment and so buying more of something so that more kids can use it at once is really helpful,” Ward said.
NxTG is open 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is free for eligible families.
It is located at 462 Memory Lane Suite 160 in downtown Dawsonville.
Kids do not need to be in public school to join, and must be between the ages of 12 and 17.
For more information, call (706) 429-0110 or visit http://nxtgenerationga.org.