February 19, 2021

Ahead of the Game

Skills for the Future

Think teen boys lack patience for saving, researching, and comparison shopping? You’ve never met 14-year-old *Jack. The eighth grader is eagerly doing all three to build his own gaming computer – a goal he set with Friend Jeff as part of his annual Roadmap plan.

“I just thought it would be cool,” said Jack, who made an “odd jobs” flyer at the Friends Clubhouse, saved money mowing lawns, and spent the past year educating himself about electronics. “It IS pretty complicated,” he admitted, then effortlessly rattled off the components that differentiate gaming computers from school laptops, from a “Socket AM4 motherboard” and “DDR4 memory card,” to a graphics processing unit specially designed for high-end visuals.

Considering Jack’s years of school struggles related to past trauma, such patience and passion for learning are remarkable, as is his changing perspective toward money.

“He’s not just jumping to ‘I need the best of everything’ or ‘I better get this or that,’” said Jack’s Friend Jeff. “The research has changed his perspective on money and his mom, who works two jobs to make ends meet. He is budgeting and digging in to learn what he can compromise on and what needs to be quality. The only concern is getting the parts, because I’ve never seen Jack so excited about anything. We had planned to work on it together, but he is doing it on his own and teaching me!”

Whatever components Jack doesn’t receive as gifts or can’t buy, Jeff hopes to help him salvage from a used computer Jeff secured from a Friend’s supporter. If all goes according to plan, Jack will be using his own computer to play Sea of Thieves against other online pirates by summer 2021.

“I want to be an influencer,” Jack said, referring to online subject experts on social media. “I think it would be cool to have people watch you do what you enjoy online.”

Jack’s friends at Friends of the Children already are watching!

*Name changed for privacy