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In pandemic, partners help get tech to teens

From access to software to learning the latest tech, Best Buy Teen Tech Centers are helping address the opportunity gap for teens in disinvested communities.

We know we can’t do it alone, so we work with a range of partners across the country — including a number of our vendor partners — to empower youth with the technology and tools they need to thrive now and in the future.  

“What we’re trying to do with our Teen Tech Centers and Career Pathways programs is really to help build brighter futures for teens,” said Andrea Wood, vice president of social impact. “This is not something Best Buy can do on our own, which is why we are so grateful for the support of our all our partners. They are instrumental in bringing our mission to life.”

During the pandemic, our partners have stepped up to provide additional tech to teens. Here are a few examples.

Adobe brings software home

When COVID-19 hit, Adobe had one question: “How can we help?”

The software company had previously provided Creative Cloud licenses to our Teen Tech Centers so youth could learn Photoshop and other tools. But with centers temporarily closed during the pandemic, Adobe knew it would have to do something different. So, the company provided professional-grade Creative Cloud licenses that youth could use at home on their own devices for a full year.

Adobe went even further and created a webinar series in which its developers taught Teen Tech Center youth tips and tricks to navigate the software.  

Bose teaches DIY headphones

Early this fall, Bose donated BOSEbuild headphones to a number of sites run by The Clubhouse Network, including the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at The Flagship Clubhouse in Boston. The kits allowed teens to build their own headphones and learn about sound engineering in the process.

In the playful and fun workshop that gathered youth, mentors and Clubhouse Network staff, Bose employees shared their innovative design thinking process and taught the importance of the science of sound, hearing and microphones through hands-on activities and collaboration. Youth were able to keep their customizable headphones after completing the workshop.

In addition to learning the parts of headsets, the teens also learned how design thinking and an inclusive, collaborative group process can lead to better results.

“At Bose, we truly believe that with access to technology and education, students can reach their goals,” said Elizabeth Cameron, a community program manager at Bose. “Our partnership with Best Buy Teen Tech Centers has given us direct access to engage these students, who are craving opportunity, with our tech-savvy employee base to create an environment of learning and collaboration.”

Microsoft creates Covers for a Cause

Microsoft has donated technology to Teen Tech Centers for years, but doubled down on its support during the pandemic. The company donated Surface tablets to Teen Tech Center teens who otherwise wouldn’t have had access to a device for at-home learning.

And Microsoft went even further when it selected Best Buy’s Teen Tech Centers as the charitable beneficiary of Covers for a Cause. Through this initiative, Microsoft donated a portion of proceeds from exclusive Surface Pro covers to the Best Buy Foundation to help fund Teen Tech Centers.

By the end of the Covers for a Cause program in September, Microsoft and Best Buy’s partnership resulted in a donation of more than $250,000 to the Teen Tech Center program.

Click here for more information about Best Buy Teen Tech Centers.