After nearly two years of planning and development, the Best Buy Teen Tech Center® at the John Will Anderson Gary Boys & Girls Club is officially open. In collaboration with the Best Buy Foundation and support from The Damien and Katy Harmon Foundation, the center will improve tech equity through access, training, and mentorship for young people in the community.
Best Buy Teen Tech Centers are safe, after-school spaces where students have access to the latest technology and can develop critical skills through hands-on activities. The center in Gary offers local teens access to state-of-the-art equipment and opportunities to explore their interests in areas like programming, film-making, music production and design. The Teen Tech Center includes a full recording studio for music and podcasting, professional cameras and video editing software, a green screen, embroidery/sewing machines, among other technology.
Currently, there are 50 Best Buy Teen Tech Centers, with this being the second in Indiana to date.
Damien Harmon, Executive Vice President of Omnichannel at Best Buy, and his wife Katy, were major sponsors for the Teen Tech Center through their foundation. As a Gary Boys & Girls Club alumnus, his connection to the community was a driving factor in bringing the Teen Tech Center in Gary to life.
“Gary holds such a special place in my heart, and it’s so important to me that teens in the community can dream big dreams, be inspired and get the support they need to build a bright future,” Harmon said. “I am so proud to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs to build this new Teen Tech Center that will allow Gary youth to chase their dreams.”
The grand opening of the center, hosted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana, saw roughly 120 community members in attendance, including representatives for U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Mike Brauhn, as well as representatives for U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan. The organization has recently expanded services through various renovations across their Clubs in Northwest Indiana.
“The Best Buy Teen Tech Center in our Gary Club is our crown jewel, and the benchmark for what we hope to replicate in all of our Club facilities,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana President & CEO, Ryan Smiley, “This wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of so many supporters who believe in our mission and the positive influence and impact we have on the kids in our community.”