South Side Boys and Girls Club Digital Media Studio Lets Kids Explore Talents [PHOTOS]
ST. CLOUD -- There's an Elvis Presley picture on the wall, underneath the photo is a producing table, and next to that is a soundproof recording booth where the kids get to sing their heart out.
This is just a few of the things you will see when you walk into the digital media studio at the South Side Boys & Girls Club. The program was first launched in 2014, as a way to open kids up to arts.
However, the studio is not the only professional thing the kids have. Their instructor and mentor Nick McGuiggan has quite the background. He graduated from the Institute of Production & Recording in Minneapolis with an emphasis in Audio Production. After that, he worked with Rhymesayers Entertainment and produced music.
Now his love for the industry is motivating him to share his talent with the kids. With his help, the kids learn to record music, produce video and films, make beats, and take photography classes.
"I always knew as a kid I liked music. I found an interest in digital software, so I kind of look at that as my instrument of creating and expressing myself. That's what I'm trying to do for the kids here, help them find out what works best for them" says McGuiggan.
Since the program opened, his influence has definitely made an impact on some of the kids. Rebecca Kuek, a 9th grader at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, has been a member of the club for two months and already is thinking of a career in theater.
Kuek is part of McGuiggan's film and lyricism class, and she says this has definitely reassured her that the entertainment field is for her.
"Coming to the club has made my summer better says Kuek. "When I finish high school, I think I am going to go off to some really big theater school"
As part of their lyricism class, Kuek and others were given a chance to travel to Atlanta Georgia. The event was sponsored by Tree Sound Studio, along with Sprite. The event had an onsite cipher workshop with Toni Blackman and Soul Food Cypher, a music industry career panel, and on stage cipher performances.
"Atlanta was really fun and it was a cool experience to meet kids from other states and cities. It's nice meeting kids like you because you barely find kids that say, I want to be on TV some day says kuek"
Marketing Manager Aimee Minnerath says, It's the relationship the kids develop with the staff that keeps the program going.
"Boys and Girls Club is a relationship based program says Minnerath. "It's really all about the staff building those strong relationships with the young people. That's what our staff is doing, they are game changers and making a difference in these kids"
Being in the program not only lets the kids travel and explore. Each year they have two big showcases in the spring and winter to showcase their work.
If you are interested in signing up your child, membership is only $10 a year. The club has various programs for kids K-12. Kids can come to the club after school until 9:00 p.m. Monday- Friday, meals are served as well.
For parent's that work, later on, the club has worked with the school district where you can add the Boys & Girls Club as the drop off route for your kid.