Tech center gives teens opportunities to follow their passions

CHARLOTTE — The Best Buy Teen Tech Center in north Charlotte is the first of its kind in North Carolina.

The tech center at the McCrorey Family YMCA gives teens free access to high-tech tools and provides a pathway for those interested in the technology industry.

Teens, 13 to 18 years old, have access to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

The new tech center includes a podcasting station, a green screen, iRobot coding, 3-D printers, and much more.

Shatorie Jones, the coordinator for the tech center, said it gives teens from different neighborhoods and backgrounds a chance to turn their passions into potential careers.

“Having it ready and accessible for them is very big,” Jones said. “They can walk here. They can ride the bus here. They can get dropped off here.”

Pathway to passion

Fourteen-year-old Xyon Thomas has dreams of becoming a music producer.

“I just took interest in making music for other people,” Thomas said. “I make beats and things like that.”

Thomas calls the 1,600-square-foot space a pathway to his passion.

“I feel like great opportunities happen here,” he said.

You don’t have to be a member of the YMCA or live in Mecklenburg County to check out the tech center.

After the teens turn 19 and graduate high school, they can volunteer as tech center alumni mentors.

The Best Buy Teen Tech Center is open Monday through Thursday 2 p.m. to 7 pm. Hours will expand to Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer, according to Jones.

The center is located at 3801 Beatties Ford Road #3215, Charlotte.

For more information and to register, click here.

Best Buy, Atrium Health, and the YMCA of Greater Charlotte all contributed to funding the equipment and tech center.

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