Building robots, solving murders, composing music — it’s all in a day’s work for Abi Fidler. As the technology coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, Fidler, 26, is helping fuel the imaginations of hundreds of children every day in the club’s computer lab.
“The most rewarding thing is to see a member find something they are really passionate about doing,” says Fidler. “So many of our kids don’t have access to computers at home and rarely get the opportunity to create content such as music or movies. My favorite part of the job is when someone tells me ‘I never knew we could do this!’ and asks to learn more about it.”
Fidler has turned the lab into a place where kids learn complex math concepts by building robots or working with software based on “CSI.” But creative pursuits are represented as well; Fidler says kids can animate movies, compose music, learn to play instruments, design fashions and, in one case, dance along with Beyonce.
The idea is not just to have a computer lab, says Fidler. “It’s about how can you integrate the computer into what kids are interested in.”
Her work hasn’t gone unnoticed. This year, the Hilton Head Island Boys & Girls Club received the National Technology Programming Award from the national governing body for Boys & Girls Clubs, which oversees 4,300 clubs across the country.
“Abi has taken the lab to a whole new level. She’s breathed life into it and made it inviting,” said JoyceWright, unit director of the Hilton Head club. She credits Fidler’s passion as one of the main reasons that the club was able to raise the needed funds for technology lab improvements. The club currently has 29 computers that serve more than 350 kids; the expansion will offer more opportunities for integrated learning.
A Hilton Head native with a degree in psychology, Fidler says she always knew she wanted to work with kids. She left home to pursue an MBA at the University of South Carolina, where she was part of a work/study program in the computer lab.
“I have so much fun coming to work every day. It’s great to see young kids who may have never really created something
create a song, or a book on computer. I love what I do.”