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Best Buy employees' volunteering pays off big for Boys & Girls Club members

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

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Amazing things can happen when big corporations pair up with local non-profits, and on June 28th and 29th, Best Buy demonstrated exactly this. Forty-seven Club members from Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth participated in the Best Buy Summer Computer Camp.

The camp was run completely by volunteering Best Buy staff. As part of the Best Buy Tag Team Awards, children’s organizations can earn $1,000 for every 40 hours of volunteering in which Best Buy employees engage. The summer camp that local Best Buy staff organized for the Club members took a total of 120 volunteer hours earning Boys & Girls Clubs $3,000 and a great two days of learning and fun.

“The Best Buy staff was really invested in the project,” said Jamie Prawdzik, Boys & Girls Clubs Education & Career Coordinator. “They invited our Club members to come into any Best Buy store if they have further questions and an employee would gladly help them.”

Each camper received a free t-shirt for coming to camp and some walked away with even bigger prizes.  Subway provided lunch for the campers on both days to make sure they were well prepared to learn. Campers attended classes on internet safety and the dangers of online predators to encourage smart usage while surfing the web. Campers also learned how to secure their Facebook page so that strangers could not see their personal information.

 “My favorite part of camp was watching the kids tear apart the computers and try to put them back together,” said Prawdzik. “Best Buy volunteers took time to describe each piece and answer any questions. The kids now understand what is inside a computer, which is really cool.”

 After two days of learning all about computers and technology, campers participated in a game show called Think Fast. The first round involved singing and dancing competitions that showcased the amazing talents of the Club members. The top five performers were voted on by their fellow campers and advanced to the final round, a Jeopardy-like trivia portion where each contestant had a buzzer and the highest score wins. Club members Jose and Emilio won the final round and both walked away with brand new iPod Shuffles.  

Since this year’s camp was so successful, Best Buy staff is already planning for next year’s summer computer camp. The Club members are also already honing their vocal chords and dance skills to ensure those iPods end up in their hands next summer.

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Article written by Phil Bunce and Sara Schneider

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