Immediately after Hurricane Harvey made its devastating mark on Houston last August, the dire need to help with recovery and reconstruction was clear. That’s why Samsung’s citizenship team immediately reached out to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston to begin to understand how their community members were impacted – and how best Samsung could help.
After months of in-person and remote meetings, working with three clubs who sustained the most damage, and understanding the clubs’ areas of greatest need, Samsung last month unveiled two Tech Center makeovers at the Stafford and Spring Branch Boys & Girls Clubs in Houston, and donated new tech equipment for the Johnny Mitchell Boys & Girls Club in Galveston.
“Harvey did a real number not just on this building, but on the entire community,” said Matt Salazar, director of the Stafford Boys and Girls Club. He described an urgency to re-open the clubs following disasters like Hurricane Harvey to give families a safe place to send their children as they try to get back to work and continue to help other family and community members in need following a disaster. “This is a safe haven for children,” Salazar said.
Several kids were able to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremonies and surprise unveiling of the tech centers and new technology at each club and had rave reviews to share.
“I was surprised that they have tables to sit on and they have a lot of laptops,” said Christopher H., a young member of the Spring Branch Boys & Girls Club. “I like the new space for my homework.”
“I love this [new tech center]. This is really awesome,” said Chelsea B., who is also a member of Spring Branch Boys & Girls Club and attends high school. She explained the new Samsung Tech Center offers her a more practical space within the club to sit and get her school work done.
“We just want to be that silver lining at the end of a hard year,” said Spring Branch Boys and Girls Club Director Mark Alvarez. “To see them react with such excitement and such joy, just brings joy to me and if anybody deserves it, it’s definitely these kids.”
Samsung and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been long-time partners committed to empowering youth to explore a future in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through a variety of educational programming and experiences. By donating the Samsung Tech Centers to the Greater Houston-area clubs, Samsung wanted to help reinforce the role the Clubs play in their members’ daily lives, while also providing youth access to technology that will be utilized as part of the Boys & Girls Clubs developing programs around STEM skills.