The Digital Clubhouse Network is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was formed as the result of a 1996 NASA research project, whose mission is to develop innovative ways of using the power of the digital technologies that are transforming our world to build a better 21st century community.
We seek to carry out our Mission by operating unique community-based incubators called "Digital Clubhouses", located in Silicon Valley and New York City, where people of all ages can come together to create new and exciting applications of digital technology that enrich education and lifelong learning, promotes public health, preserve history, and encourage a deeper appreciation of cultural diversity.
Our intergenerational programs and projects, such as digital storytelling workshops that document living history and explores new approaches to healing, and after school activities that teach the ethical and productive uses of technology, break down barriers between people due to age, gender, socioeconomic background or other factors.
By sharing best practices and ideas between our two Digital Clubhouses, we benefit from a cross coastal "Valley to the Alley" dialogue that enhances our mutual understanding of how our work can be replicated to other environments throughout America and the rest of the world.
The Digital Clubhouse model is based on the idea that "community means membership. To be a Member of a Digital Clubhouse and participate in its free programs and projects, an individual must "pay dues" by volunteering their time to serve others, including seniors, at risk youth, minorities, people with a disability and individuals or groups who do not have access or understanding of how digital technology can help them live more fulfilling lives. The average number of Participating Members of a Digital Clubhouse is about 250 people, half of whom are under the age of 18. Youth and adults typically volunteer 30 hours per month. Our youngest Member is 6, and the eldest is 98.
Youth are the core constituency and the driver that supports and sustains the life of our Digital Clubhouses. For the first time in history, it is the young who are mastering the tools of technology before their elders. The Net Generation are drawn naturally to technology like they are to the refrigerator, and are quick to adapt the latest developments with ease. But far too many lack the experience to enable them to make informed choices about how to use their power in productive and ethical ways.
At a Digital Clubhouse, youth at an early age are exposed to a culture based on "learning by teaching, and caring by sharing." Working with a diverse universe of people, giving voice to important issues, and helping to deal with societal problems at an early stage in their development, they are prepared for success in the rapidly evolving lifespace of the 21st century, while helping to contribute to a more inclusive, tolerant and compassionate society. By applying technology to serve others and address real life issues, youth develop not only competencies for school and work but creativity, self esteem and teamwork, while gaining invaluable lessons about courage, character and the importance of civic responsibility.
The Digital Clubhouse Network is empowered to achieve its Mission by the funding and in-kind support of corporations, foundations, nonprofit and individuals, who share our vision of "using the power of digital technology to build a better 21st century community."