Fanning the flames: Family Service Association ignites a technological revolution

Family Services Assn log0Admit it! When you were a kid, your mother told you, “Don’t put your finger in that fan!” Inevitability, your curiosity got the best of you and you found yourself in time-out. While Family Service’s Best Buy Teen Tech Center isn’t encouraging kids to stick their fingers in boxed fans, The Teen Tech Center is fueling the inspiration of curiosity. What started out as computer parts, foil, scrap boxes and old wires, turned into a “Fan Bot” hand crafted by the all too curious, technologically savvy teens of The Teen Tech Center. Since opening its doors in February 2013, The Teen Tech Center has provided teens with a safe, fun and educational place to gather after school.


Best Buy partnered with MIT, Boston’s Museum of Science and the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, an International Community of over 100 computer Clubhouses located in 20 countries worldwide to bring this innovative network and hands-on experience into the United States. That means local teens will connect and collaborate with kids around the world to explore ideas, develop skills and build self-confidence through technology.

Located in the heart of the West side, at Family Service’s Neighborhood Place at 3014 Rivas, The Teen Tech Center was selected by this prestigious group to become one of only four sites across the U.S. to benefit from this innovative experience. Middle and high school students, ages 10-18 and living on the West side, are getting the experience of a lifetime: building a computer from the ground up, and learning digital photography, animation, programming, how to create digital music in a state of the art music studio and more.

“I am ahead of all of my classmates and I have even become the teacher’s assistant in my Photoshop class because of The Teen Tech Center. I am pretty lucky,” said Victor Sandate, Teen Tech Center Participant.


In the summer, The Geek Squad Summer Academy sponsored by Best Buy and hosted by Family Service, allowed young people to immerse themselves into two intensive days of technology through interactive classes and activities. Through Family Service, Geek Squad Agents and Best Buy employees helped students navigate our increasingly tech-centric world and open up possibilities for a future in the technology field. Last year, over 140 participants came out to the Summer Academy!

“Some amazing creations happen here at The Teen Tech Center! If the kids want to play video games, we let them; however, they have to build their own controller from scratch—they’ve all been able to do it” said Marleen Moreno, Family Service Facilitator.

Along a windowsill in The Teen Tech Center sits several hand crafted robotic fans. These fans represent more than just learning and fun, but rather, the inspiration and encouragement every child needs to be successful. Family Service has a mission to empower individuals and families to transform their lives and strengthen their community. The Teen Tech Center is just one of the strategies that help the agency carry out its mission; its impact today and into the future will change the lives of countless young people by inspiring knowledge, encouraging creativity and launching careers. For more information about Family Service and its Teen Tech Center, call 210-299-2443 or visit