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Program will let girls be ‘Geeks’

Ages 7-12 to benefit from Best Buy’s Summer Academy on computer skills

By Christina Elmore

Friday, June 17, 2011

Participants in the Junior Girls Day Out Community Project will get to sharpen their computer skills as the local nonprofit has been selected for Best Buy’s Geek Squad Summer Academy.

Junior Girls Day Out was the first organization to be chosen from South Carolina this year and will partner with the College of Charleston and IT-oLogy for the program.



Quanila White, then 11, describes the fashion runway she built for the Block Kids competition in 2010 to Alex Driscoll, one of the judges. The event was part of a Junior Girls Day Out program at Burke High School.

For more info

For details on the Junior Girls Day Out Community Project and how to participate, contact Kathy Jackson at 864-3399 or email

For more on Best Buy’s Geek Squad Summer Academy, visit

Junior Girls Day Out was launched in Charleston in 2007 and features 21 programs aimed at enriching girls ages 7-12 in education, career, personal, cultural and social development. All events and activities are free.

“The only criteria that we ask is that they make a decision that they want to excel in their school work and they want to pursue their goals in life,” said Kathy Jackson, the organization’s founder. “We are here as leaders to help them reach those goals and help them fulfill the dreams that they have.”

Jackson said it is an honor to be selected for Best Buy’s Geek Squad Summer Academy. The nationally recognized program, endorsed by Michelle Obama, uses Geek Squad’s technology support task force to empower youths across the country.

Girls will learn technological skills such as how to build computers from the ground up, how to troubleshoot hardware and digital photography techniques.

Kristoffer Robinett, a deputy field marshal with Best Buy, is working with Jackson to coordinate the event.

“It’s really just teaching them how to use some of the technology that is available out there to their advantage, whether it’s for educational purposes or to be creative,” Robinett said. “Anybody has the possibility to be a geek at the end of the day.”

Jackson said being skilled at using computers will benefit girls when it comes to pursuing their educations and future careers.

“Imagine the impact it will have on girls’ lives,” Jackson said. “Everybody’s excited about this program. Not only the girls, but the parents are, too. It’s just really cool.”

Damaris Jones of Mount Pleasant said she registered her daughter, Alexandria, 9, for the Summer Academy so that she could learn how to film and edit video on the computer.

“This particular event was one that Kathy Jackson brought to my attention, and I just knew that would be something that Alexandria would love to be a part of,” Jones said. “She loves to take my phone and make videos, so for her to learn how to do it on the computer would be great.”

Jones said her daughter has participated in events on self-esteem awareness and culinary arts since first joining Junior Girls Day Out in March.

Alexandria, who wants to be a singer or a chef when she grows up, says her favorite thing that Junior Girls Day Out has taught her is how to make a pizza.

“I like that they try to do new things, and that we learn more stuff,” Alexandria said.

Jones said she’s noticed that her daughter has become more aware of the world around her as a result.

“I love the way they really engage the young ladies,” Jones said. “She’s learned new things and she’s asking more questions.”

The Summer Academy will be open to roughly 150 girls ages 9-17 and will take place 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 23-24. Donations and volunteers are needed, Jackson said.

Upcoming programs

Here are some events for the Junior Girls Day Out Community Project:

Geek Squad Summer Academy

What: Junior Girls Day Out will participate in Best Buy’s Geek Squad Summer Academy, a nationally recognized program endorsed by Michelle Obama. Girls will learn skills such as how to build computers from the ground up, make music and movies on computers and design animations.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 23 and 24.

Where: The College of Charleston.

Enrichment trips

What: Trips this summer include girls visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to have lunch with astronauts; touring the U.S Capitol, Smithsonian Institution and other historic sites in Washington D.C.; and experiencing Broadway and Wall Street in New York.

When: June, July and August. Exact dates to be announced.

Literacy series: Lowcountry spelling bee

What: To improve literacy rates among elementary school girls, a series of programs will be held including read-a-thons, spelling bees, reading beach parties, Savannah reading day trips and public speaking competitions. The first event is a Lowcountry spelling bee competition comprised of elementary school girls from the tri-county area.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 29.

Where: To be announced.

Feed the Hungry Community Day

What: As a part of its community service component teaching girls how to give back, Junior Girls Day Out will help participants plan and coordinate a Thanksgiving dinner for homeless and needy families and individuals, as well as distribute take-home groceries on the day of the event.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 19.

Where: To be announced.

For more on these events, contact Kathy Jackson at 864-3399 or email