Alderwood Boys and Girls Club celebrates new computer lab

Eager children formed a line to enter the lab.

After months of hearing about construction taking place in their old Alderwood Boys and Girls Club recreation room, children rushed into the newly redesigned room earlier this week to find walls lined with new computers, a 3D printer and more.  

To keep the whole experience a secret, the room was a strictly “no-kids-allowed” area during construction, though according to Boys and Girls Club Area Director Ken Salem, the kids kept a sharp eye on the room and peeked at every opportunity.

The Alderwood Boys and Girls Club was the recipient of the Comcast Corporation’s philanthropic efforts to increase digital equity through Lift Zones. One of 13 Lift Zones in Snohomish County, this enhanced zone cost approximately $85,000. It showcases new technology meant to inspire creativity and provide youth an opportunity to learn about the growing importance of electronics and machinery. To that end, it provided features like closets full of simple machine-building kits and customizable furnishings such as LED lighting fixtures. Comcast is also providing free internet access.

The lab was designed by a Boys and Girls Club IT director, Ebby Sabbagh, who traveled from Arizona to attend the lab’s unveiling. Sabbagh said the vision for the zone was to allow the kids to explore and give kids ownership. He attributed the lab’s success to all who worked on it.

A fun mishap

During the unveiling ceremony, Comcast’s CFO for the Pacific Northwest, Kevin Harrison, brought in a few kids to announce an additional donation to the club of… $00205? After moving around their confused helpers, Comcast unveiled a check for $25,000 for the club to use as it sees fit. The kids thanked him with a piece of handmade art.

Shortly after Mayor Christine Frizzell cut the ribbon for the new space, children filtered into the room, started opening every cabinet and ran around. The 3D printer was an easy favorite; children swarmed to it immediately as it created more and more items. So did city officials, club employees and executives from Comcast.

“Visiting here reminds me: It’s all about the kids, for them,” said Colleen Frauenholtz, board president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.

— Photos and story by Jasmine Contreras-Lewis

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