kNOw Tech 4 Teens

On September 20-21 2014 in the Kimmel Center, a group of teenagers start to gather on the 2nd balcony.  Most of them have not seen each other for weeks.  This is a slumber party, one would put it.  All of the teens are going out to dinner, roasting s’mores, then heading back to the Kimmel Center for an Idol contest, where people will perform.  There is one unusual thing about all of the teenagers that have gathered, none of them have any technology.  They have no phones, computers, or iPods.  That is the reason for this whole event.  A couple of months earlier, an organization had been founded called No Tech for Teens.  The idea from the organization came from a man named Steven Fisher, and the organization that he runs called the Commonwealth Youthchoirs.

One year ago, in the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, a choir and the parents of the members of the choir gathers for their annual start of the year meeting.  This choir is called the Keystone State Boychoir.  Steve Fisher is the director of this choir.  Fisher talks about the new ideas and plans he had for the year, and about a half an hour in, he talks about his final idea for the year.  Fisher calls it “no tech for teens,” which was later styled as kNOw Tech 4 Teens.  His ideas for this event are extraordinary.  “I hope that 20 years from now,” Fisher states, “this will become an international holiday.  And you will be the ones to participate in the first ever kNOw Tech 4 Teens.”

The whole point of this organization is to raise money, and donate it to a cause.  You do not have to pay to participate in the event, you must have someone sponsor you.  They can donate a number of dollars an hour, or they can make a donation to the whole organization.  All of the money raised will go to the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which focuses on kids that are bystanders to bullying.  They want everyone to be an upstander.  This organization is in Tyler Clementi’s memory. They want everyone to be an upstander.  This organization is in Tyler Clementi’s memory, who was a college student at New York University.  He got cyber bullied at NYU, and it ended in him committing suicide.  Another point of kNOw Tech 4 Teens, is to raise awareness of cyber bullying.  Many people overlook cyber bullying, because it is a way of bullying someone using social media and technology, but cyber bullying can be very powerful.  The goal of kNOw Tech 4 Teens this year was to raise about 5,000 dollars, but they ended up raising 8,000 dollars to a great cause.

It is easy to live without computers or cellphones if you have something to do.  If you play board games or read, the time goes by fast.  That is why for the kNOw-Tech-a-Thon, there are events that are planned out.  At 7:00, the teens that had gathered at the Kimmel Center, exited the Kimmel Center, and started to walk down a busy street in center city.  They started to head towards a restaurant, which there had been made reservations for.  This was the first event of the night.  Fisher called it kNOw tech at the table.  Going to dinner without technology.  At a restaurant, it’s so easy to go onto your phone when you’re waiting for your food to arrive, but at  the kNOw tech at the table event, you have to find other means of entertainment, like talking to people, and getting to know each other better instead of being on your phone.  After diner, the teenagers had time to walk around the city, and then head back to the Kimmel Center.  At 12:00 midnight, there was a competition held for the best musical performance an “Idol” competition.  These are all ways to have fun without using technology.  The teenagers are “locked” into the Kimmel Center, where they spent the night with adult supervision.  Finally, at 3:00 in the morning, the lights go out, and people get into their sleeping bags.

At 6:30 on the morning of September 21st, people got up, dressed, and started to get picked up by their parents.  The teens were all exhausted.  That afternoon there was a concert that they needed to get ready for.  Jane Clementi (Tyler’s mom) would be there on the day that her son died; September 21st.  At the concert she would be awarded with the 8,000 dollar check that would go towards the Tyler Clementi Foundation.  The day after the kNOw Tech-a-Thon, Steve Fisher wrote out an e-mail to everyone who had participated in the event.  In his e-mail, he wrote: “The only word to describe the first ever kNOw Tech-a-Thon was, ‘perfect’.”