Department of Children and Families
David E. Wilkins
March 21, 2012
Northwest Region Communications Director,
TALLAHASSEE – Twenty teens currently in foster care spent their time away from the classroom over their spring break in a different kind of learning environment. The teens this week attended a Technology Camp sponsored by the global broadband and telecommunications company, CenturyLink, in partnership with the Department of Children and Families and Big Bend Community Based Care.
The CenturyLink Technology Camp is affiliated with the Department's "Camps for Champions" (www.campsforchampions.com) initiative and encouraged the young people to seek technology and related careers by bringing in local experts and engaging the youth in a series of computer laboratory activities. The camp took place at DCF's Northwood Computer Center and included a tour of the shared resources center and an explanation of the help desk environment and a field trip to the State Emergency Operations Center.
"I want to thank the camp's sponsor, CenturyLink, for providing this great opportunity to our youth in care," said Vicki Abrams, Northwest Regional Director for DCF. "The youth learned invaluable life skills and heard about a variety of cool careers in technology like marketing, sales, and web design."
Camp participants were challenged to design and formally present a plan for marketing to other youth and foster care agencies "MyJumpVault," a new tool designed by foster youth for foster youth to assist them in collecting and keeping critical documents and personal information.
"MyJumpVault is a place where you can keep important things if you want to keep them safe or when you need them in important times," explained one of the tech campers. "If I didn't have MyJumpVault I would or could most likely lose a lot of things. So I'm pretty glad that I'm helping to develop MyJumpVault."
The virtual vault is a pilot project of Big Bend CBC's award-winning "Everybody's a Teacher" initiative. It is being developed as a coordinated effort with BBCBC's Service Learning Project to maximize youth input on the development of a safe, reliable, portable method for collection and retrieval of documents that youth need as they transition into independent living.
"Our kids were hard at work this week developing a technology project that could drastically change the experience of foster kids across the State," explained Mike Watkins, CEO of Big Bend Community Based Care. "MyJumpVault is truly a youth designed and driven solution."
CenturyLink joins hundreds of other Florida businesses as "Partners for Promise" with the Department of Children and Families. The camp supports Florida's youth in the area the "Promise of Academic Success" by exciting young people about the possibilities of careers in technology, with hands-on experience and advice from experts in the field. For more information or to become involved, please visit www.flpartnersforpromise.com.