Minecraft, Robots and Games. Oh, My!

Jennifer Powell

CMO of Installation & Service Technologies (IST)

Kids are the future of technology as we have seen firsthand, and we have once again lived out this realization through our involvement with iD Tech Camps.

This summer it was our pleasure to sponsor eight local students to attend iD Tech’s week-long camps where kids from elementary to high school had the opportunity to learn about the 21st century’s world of technology, including coding, game design, 3D printing, robotics, engineering, video production and more. iD Tech Camps created a flagship program that blends world-class instruction with fun activities for a well-balanced experience of technology and fun.

Hosted at Southern Methodist University, sponsored campers created, explored and put their problem-solving skills to the test by building maps and creating resource packs in Minecraft through learning the program’s Java code. In addition, campers worked in teams to engineer robotics powered by the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 Base Set and software.


The full camp experience wouldn’t be complete without sunshine and activities. Campers used SMU’s outside facilities to enjoy tug-of-war, team building exercises and games.

By the end of each week, the students came away with an understanding of what engineering, hardware and coding have to offer. While working in the technology industry takes a great amount of teamwork, it can be extremely fun!

Jennifer Powell

CMO of Installation & Service Technologies (IST)

At Skinny IT, we know the future is in new and unexplored technological innovations, and the pioneers who discover them are in the next generation of young dreamers.

Recently, we had the opportunity to get involved with Tech Titans and the Wylie SMARTgirls club to help a few young girls who have an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) go to the Tech Titans STEM Engineering camp.

Tech Titans is the largest technology trade association in Texas. Tech Titans is a diverse group of leaders working to strengthen the North Texas technology community by acting as the innovation hub for entrepreneurs, universities and corporations. The non-profit strongly supports efforts to provide kids with educational opportunities. Working with the Wylie SMARTgirls club, a group dedicated to promoting STEM career awareness among girls, Tech Titans hosted a summer STEM camp at Frank McMillan Junior High School for 30 locally-based middle school girls.

The STEM camp brought learning to life. Through group discussions, hands-on activities and creative thinking, the girls solved complex problems using STEM skills. In one case, the girls were presented with the task of designing self-driving cars. They split up and thought critically about the car’s purpose, including its potential advantages and challenges. After discussion, ideation and planning, groups presented their designs and how they would achieve the goal of creating a user-friendly, self-driving car.

With this recent experience, we could not be more inspired and hopeful for what the future of technology holds. While kids of today have every bit of technology at their fingertips, what is most exciting is how they are going to transform it to take innovation to the next level. It was a joy to be a part of this year’s summer camp with Tech Titans, and we look forward to watching the young generation advance our future from dreams to reality.

Jennifer Powell

CMO of Installation & Service Technologies (IST)

At Skinny IT, we are proud to partner with our clients to support their IT needs and ensure their success. This year, it is our goal to not only serve our clients to the best of our ability, but to also serve our community. As a team, we decided to partner with an organization doing good for millions of people every day, the American Heart Association (AHA).

Cardiovascular disease is an issue that is near and dear to our President and CEO Sam Darwish’s heart. Four years ago, Sam lost his father to a heart attack at the age of 57 and upon further research discovered that heart disease has affected many members of his family. Sam decided to take an unfortunate situation and turn it into an opportunity to monitor his own health closely and help others battling heart disease.

Sam’s family is among thousands who are affected by this disease. In fact, it is the nation’s number one killer, and a shocking 35 percent of Dallas deaths each year are attributed to cardiovascular disease. The AHA of Dallas is committed to fighting this disease and helping Dallas residents lead healthy and happy lives.

To bring awareness of this issue, we partnered with the AHA for National Heart Month by participating in National Wear Red Day and sponsoring the annual Go Red for Women Luncheon.

On February 3, our entire office wore red to promote heart health in men and women, and donated in support of the AHA with company matching.

Every year on National Wear Red Day, the AHA hosts annual Go Red for Women Luncheons all across the country. The Skinny IT team had the pleasure of sponsoring the luncheon and attending the event that draws more than 1,300 business executives, medical professionals and community leaders together. The team celebrated the 2017 Sandi Haddock Impact Award recipient, and heard an inspiring message on the power of perseverance from keynote Alison Levine, who is an American mountain climber and explorer despite being born with a congenital heart defect.

Our team was proud to partner with the AHA in their efforts to put an end to cardiovascular disease and look forward to continuing to work with this organization in the years to come. To learn more about National Heart Month and the AHA’s efforts, visit www.heart.org.

Jennifer Powell

CMO of Installation & Service Technologies (IST)

Imagine being the parent of a child battling a life-threatening illness in the hospital. The holiday season is quickly approaching, and all you want is for your family to be able to celebrate together. You may want to give your child a gift for the holidays, but the medical bills piling up cause you to think otherwise.

At Skinny IT, we understand this situation is a reality for hundreds of families in our Dallas community. The holiday season is a joyful time where families should be able to spend quality time together free of stress. As a team, we wanted to help these families celebrate the season.

With this in mind, we decided to host the Holly Jolly Toy Drive benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas helps gives families with children in the hospital a place to stay that is both close to their child and rent-free. During the holiday season, the Ronald McDonald House gives toys to these kids so their families don’t have to worry about any additional expenses during the holiday season.

On December 1, we held our Holly Jolly Toy Drive and invited our fellow office park tenants, Frisco city officials and community members. Together, we donated toys, enjoyed food trucks and played games while listening to a live radio show broadcast from 1310 “The Ticket.”

We designated three large bins for the toys, and by the end of the event they were all overflowing. We planned on using an SUV to deliver the toys to the Ronald McDonald House, but had to improvise with a large truck instead!

It is an honor to know the toys donated will go on to help hundreds of children in Dallas celebrate the holiday season with their families. We appreciate the opportunity to serve our community as a team and look forward to continuing this initiative in 2017.

From our team to yours, we wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Jennifer Powell

CMO of Installation & Service Technologies (IST)

minnies-1Giving back to our community is an activity our team enjoys doing year-round. Each month, our team chooses a nonprofit organization to support with a service project or donation. With the holiday season coming up, we recognized that hunger is an issue that affects hundreds of families in our community and we wanted to do something to help.

In September, we volunteered at Minnie’s Food Pantry. Minnie’s is one of the largest food pantries in Collin County and, as a member of Feeding America®, the North Texas Food Bank and GuideStar, the food bank serves low income families. Hunger must continually be addressed in North Texas and Minnie’s works every day to be the “voice of the hungry.”

minnies-2Our team had the opportunity to help organize the food bank warehouse and prepare for the upcoming holiday season. We unloaded and sorted 400 pounds of food from eight pallets that will be used to give meals to local families for Thanksgiving.

To help the cause further, our team made a monetary donation, which will help provide an additional 600 meals to the families in our community. Additionally, we donated 10 wooden pallets for Minnie’s to use and reuse for food storage. Skinny IT has offered to be a resource for this need in the future.

We appreciate the opportunity to give back as a team and look forward to working with Minnie’s in the future! To learn more about Minnie’s Food Pantry and how you can help fight hunger, visit http://www.minniesfoodpantry.org/.


Jennifer Powell

CMO of Installation & Service Technologies (IST)

The fall season brings a new school year for children across the country. Most parents get prepared by purchasing school supplies to help their children succeed in school. Unfortunately, many families in our community cannot afford to buy school supplies. It is also a well-known fact that many teachers pay to provide school supplies for kids that are underprivileged. Our team at Skinny IT recognized this issue, and decided we wanted to do something to help.

In August, we hosted a back-to-school supply drive benefiting Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Collin County. CASA of Collin County is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve as guardians for children who have been removed from abusive or neglectful homes in the Collin County Area. For the past several years, it has also helped underprivileged children in Collin County by providing school supplies at the beginning of the school year.

As a team, we collected and filled a box overflowing with school supplies for the children of CASA. We also made a monetary donation to assist with CASA’s efforts throughout the year.

To learn more about CASA of Collin County or to make a donation, please visit http://casaofcollincounty.org/.

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