The Fort Smith and Benton County Boys & Girls Clubs today have opened two technology-filled Innovation Labs made possible by a $40,000-grant from Cox Communications that will benefit hundreds of Arkansas children the clubs serve every week.
The Innovation Labs are the cornerstone of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Club Tech program, according to the two organizations. The labs help close the digital divide for those without computer access or internet at home, promote STEM programming, provide training for club staff, and give students access to curriculum to advance computer literacy skills.
The lab renovations at the Fort Smith Goldtrap-Gardner Boys & Girls Club at 8800 Dallas St. in Fort Smith, and the Benton County Bentonville Boys & Girls Club at 2801 NE Walker St.
The two labs include new laptops, upgrades of internet and electrical wiring for eSports, 3D printers and coding for robotics, custom art and tables designed by local artists along with new carpeting and paint, and ability to make the labs adaptable for an outside experience
“We’re committed to ensuring our children are connected at school, at home and right here at the Boys & Girls Club where so many children spend their afternoons. Cox Innovation Labs allow students to access exciting tools to advance their tech-literacy skills and explore unknown possibilities,” Tina Gabbard, Cox market vice president for Arkansas, said in a statement.
The newly announced Innovation Lab renovations are in addition to a $20,000 upgrade to Fort Smith’s Boys & Girls Club Evans Unit in 2022 and two $5,000 grants awarded in August by Cox Charities employee-funded investment grant program which donated a total of $80K to 16 non-profits in Fort Smith, Northwest Arkansas, Harrison, Eureka Springs and other Arkansas communities inside the Cox service areas.