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From Boston to Bathurst – US educators open cutting-edge tech hub in western New South Wales

From Boston to Bathurst – US educators open cutting-edge tech hub in western New South Wales Tech-education experts from Boston, Massachusetts are visiting Bathurst in western NSW to support the creation of a ‘Clubhouse’ – a free after-school technology-learning hub for young people.

Clubhouse Bathurst is part of the international Clubhouse Network and will be funded by
Regional NSW, while the not-for-profit organisation, Social Futures, will manage The
Clubhouse. (Social Futures also runs Clubhouses in Lismore and Ballina.)

The first Clubhouse was established in 1993 by two education researchers at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT is a top global university), and one of those still
sits on the Network’s board of directors.

There are now more than 125 clubhouses in 20 countries, which introduce learners to creative technology.

Clubhouse Bathurst will provide young people (aged 12 to 18 years) with a safe and supported space to explore technologies like video and sound editing, movie making, and animation creation along with a youth worker. The Clubhouse is equipped with sound and video editing, games, robotics, and also traditional crafts.

The Clubhouse Network’s Executive Director, Lisa Cook, this week travelled to Western
Australia from her base in Boston. “I am inspired by your partnership with The Clubhouse Network in support of young people in New South Wales,” Ms Cook said.

“Together we support the next generation to develop technical and interpersonal skills, set
long-term goals and become their best selves.
“Most importantly, we are preparing youth to become future leaders in the digital workforce in their communities.”

Ms Cook is accompanied by colleague, Matt Burke, The Clubhouse Network’s Community
Manager, who covers the US, Australia, and Asia.

“In my time with The Clubhouse Network, I’ve seen so many incredible things happen for the
young people of our global community,” Mr Burke said.

“Sometimes, it’s as small as a tiny spark of an idea or an affirmation that pushes a member
forward just enough to try something new. Sometimes the convergence of mentorship,
community support, and technological resources can set a course that leads that member to a life of success based on a pathway of their own design.

“With the right team in place, the possibilities are endless, and from having witnessed the
incredible work they’ve done in their existing Clubhouse spaces, I’m so excited for the ways
the Social Futures team will impact the future as they expand their reach and impact to more
youth in New South Wales.”

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said it was an honour to host the visitors from Boston and he loved The Clubhouse motto, ‘Where Technology Meets Imagination’.
“This encapsulates the program’s goal of teaching young people to use the latest tech tools to create and express themselves,” Mr Davies said.

“Think of all the flow-on benefits for young people learning to do things like code games, edit movies and animate cartoons – they are being challenged to think, develop new concepts, find the technologies to realise new ideas, build their multimedia skills, and ultimately believe in themselves, grow in confidence, and realise that they have so much to offer their community and the world.

“It is so exciting to see the Clubhouse model arrive in Bathurst, and Social Futures is looking
forward to strengthening our connections to this beautiful city.”
Media enquiries: Christine Tondorf | Media and Communications Lead | 0427 556 892

  • Social Futures is a leading community service organisation with 47 years’ experience
    working to achieve positive social change in our communities. At Social Futures we work to build inclusive communities where everyone is valued and supported. We support people to thrive by connecting them to the support they need when they need it. We work with communities, organisations and government across key focus areas of homelessness, housing and employment, youth and family, mental health and wellbeing, disability inclusion, sector support and seniors in community. Learn more about our work by clicking here.
  • Founded in 1993 by MIT Media Lab professors, The Clubhouse Network: Where Technology Meets Imagination provides creative, safe after-school learning environments where youth from low-income communities work with mentors to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence through technology. Based on the interest of funders and the public, The Clubhouse Network (TCN) model has replicated in 125 communities in 20 countries. TCN supports community-based Clubhouses around the world, providing thousands of youth with access to resources, skills, and experiences to help them succeed in their careers, contribute to their communities, and lead outstanding lives. Visit The Clubhouse Network.
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