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Tech Giants Donate Computer Lab to Boys & Girls Club

Microsoft and AMD unveil Tech Center of Excellence at the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula in Menlo Park.

Anthony De La Cruz intently focused on his computer screen, working out the details of mixing songs from Chris Brown, Pitbull and Justin Bieber into music tracks that he could share with his friends. 

“I want to make mixes that can benefit my community,” said the 15-year-old De La Cruz.

De La Cruz, a Redwood City resident, worked on his project in the newly established computer lab at the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula in Menlo Park, which was unveiled Thursday afternoon.

Peninsula politicians, club leaders and members, as well as representatives from Microsoft and AMD Technologies, which donated the computers and programs, attended the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the Tech Center of Excellence.

Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa, who participated in the ceremonial ribbon cutting, spoke briefly to address the need for youth to prepare themselves for pursuing higher education and a career.

“We want to make sure that everyone in this community learns technology,” said Espinosa, who also serves as the director of corporate citizenship for Microsoft. “That is the future.”

Espinosa said the collaboration between two giants in the technology sector will help close the digital divide, in which underprivileged communities suffer from limited access to quality computers.

“I’m thrilled at the work that is going on here,” said Espinosa.

Antonisha Fuller, a member of the , said she believed that the amenities donated will enable local children to do their homework and excel in school.

Mike Woollems, corporate vice president of finance at AMD, said his company decided to donate its products to the club, in part because of the graduation rate of its members.

Woollems said 88 percent of the club members in Menlo Park graduate from high school, a significantly higher rate than similar communities throughout the nation.

He also said that he hopes the computers and programs donated will go toward increasing the amount of high school graduates from the club in the future.

“We want to up that graduation rate even more,” Woollems said.

AMD hopes that by donating the equipment and programs, interest for computer programming can be sparked in club members, who will go on to pursue careers in the technology field, said Woollems.

The computers and programs donated opened doors for club members to pursue their interest in a wide variety of opportunities, such as using technology to make music.

Alfonso Oseguera, a worker at the Boys & Girls Club, assisted interested club members in learning how to work the studio program and make music mixes, such as the one that De La Cruz was making.

Oseguera also said the program he taught club members, called Acid Studio, could allow them to produce their own music, once they fully understood its potential.

De La Cruz said he appreciated the donation by Microsoft and AMD, because of the opportunities the new lab presents to him.

“It’s a real privilege to be here and be able to use this equipment,” he said. “And it shows a real commitment to the community by these companies.”

Espinosa said he was excited about what kind of projects and creativity may be produced in the new lab.

“I look forward to the potential of the new center,” he said.

Ann Krueger Spivack July 08, 2011 at 03:35 PM
What a great story. Thanks for covering this.
Elidia Contreras July 08, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Agreed! This is such a tremendous triumph for Microsoft and AMD. They see the disparities that go on in a community surrounded by talent, and I'm glad they are honing in on making children's proverbial dreams come true!

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