Teen tech program available at Sibley Square

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

The Boundless Connections Technology Center at Sibley Square, 260 E. Main St., Rochester, is offering its TECH Unleashed program geared toward teens.

TECH Unleashed is for youth ages 13-17 years old interested in any technology, including computer programming, 3D printing, augmented and virtual reality, graphic art and audio/video editing.

Along with general instruction, the program fosters the use of various technology skills in service to the community. Participants choose annual projects and stay connected throughout the year for approximately 160 hours of coordination and mentorship.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing this program to the Rochester community,” CEO Christina Lopez said. “It’s a cornerstone goal of developing a pipeline of tech-savvy people who want to live and work in the Rochester area. 

“Our Olean pilot tech center started around this program and it’s been a turning point for many of the young people who have participated. We’ve had members go on to pursue careers in different tech-based fields, from video production to web and app design to rocket science and everything in between.

“Part of what sets our programs apart is the autonomy we give members. As facilitators, we help guide them and keep them on track with their goals, but this isn’t a class, so everyone is learning and exploring what they’re passionate about at their own pace.”

Olean program member Malachi, 14, was hand-drawing his ideas for a cartoon before being introduced to animation software at the tech center.

“I really want to be an animator and having this place I can peacefully draw out sketches and concepts of episodes,” he said. “I love it here. There’s a bunch of tech people I can talk to — it’s kind of like a second family.”

TECH Unleashed members have a junior membership giving them access to the tech center during staffed hours — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays — without a parent or guardian.

While the program’s annual projects are participant-driven, members receive guidance on project and time management, leadership and team building, public speaking, research and industry networking.

Funding for scholarships is provided by nonprofit partner Strength Solutions. Monthly, yearly, family and corporate memberships and day passes are available. Boundless Connections also offers interest and networking clubs and programs, including TECH Launch for anyone ages 17 and older. 

Visit boundlessconnections.com for information. To schedule a tour, email rochester@bctechcenter.com or call 585-420-6868. Walk-ins are welcome.

Olean TECH Unleashed program member Malachi uses animation software on a Microsoft Surface Studio Pro.