After School STEM Enrichment Program
Transform the lives of kids now, let them transform our lives later.
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."
2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
Location of where someone is raised is a huge indicator of what resources they will have available as well as their success. Our goal is to go past their barriers that prevent people from accomplishing their dreams by focusing on kids while they are young, and enriching their scientific knowledge with fun experiments.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
I am planning on solving this problem by partnering with local schools and community events to help host Science clubs/events. To find volunteers, I have worked together with other college students to advertise our volunteering opportunities on campus and on social media. To plan out what we do, we find an experiment and write out a memo. Within the memo, supplies needed as well as instructions on how to perform the experiment are included.
To expand our audience, we have begun contacting other schools and organizations asking if they would be interested in hosting a science based event. We have also been contacted by other local organizations asking if we could help volunteer or donate supplies to have them run the experiment themselves. Our goal is to make science as accessible to as many people as possible, so partnering with as many organizations and having enough volunteers is crucial. While what we do is local at the moment, I would be delighted to see other students across the nation work together on enriching their local communities in need. Not only will we see short term results in having students getting educated, but we will also see long term results for the future.
4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
Involvement goes both ways, from volunteers to the kids.
Volunteer wise, we have formed many new friendships through the club. As someone who has anxiety, meeting people can be difficult for me but it felt completely natural while running the organization. I now have a bigger network of friends that I can ask for advice and to network with. Some of the volunteers are younger than me, so it has allowed them to meet new people as well and to have a first look at what it is to interact with kids. Working with lower income individuals also opens up new perspectives as not everyone is privileged growing up to have the same opportunities as they did growing up.
We once had a kid write a thank you card. It was awesome to see how thankful the kids are when it comes to appreciating what we do for the club.
5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Our focus is on lower income communities that may not have the funds to have after-school programs for kids to join. Our volunteering efforts have drove us to make sure no one is left out of new opportunities based on their background, whether it is race/sex/sexual orientation/religion/wealth. Everyone deserves a chance to be exposed to the scientific community to learn more about what career paths they can take as they get older. There is a huge possibility that someone may want to work with chemistry, but may not know it because they are not exposed to what exactly chemistry is.
6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
The club is split into two sections of grade levels, with one in session for the first half of the year with the other in the second half of the year. This past year, we had over 60 students participate in the club. It is amazing to see how many of these kids look forward to the next set of experiments, as well as their reactions when they are awed by the experiment taking place.
We have also participated as judges at the Science Fair at the same school, which had dozens of kids from each grade level compete against each other for the most impressive experiment. We are looking forward to continue partnering with hosting the club and volunteering at science fairs at local schools. Many of these kids have exhibited great interest in science related fields as a result of how much fun they have while at the same time, learning about every day processes going on around us.
7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
To take the project to the next level, we are hoping to partner with even more schools, daycares, and after school organizations to help enrich science within kids across the nation. This upcoming year, we are integrating a more personal approach by having volunteers pair up with specific kids throughout the year. We are also looking into expanding into more local elementary schools. Other clubs on campus have been interested in partnering with us to expand the program to even more schools.
8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?
The current.physical supplies we use is obtained through donations from parents as well as purchased materials using club funds. Some materials have also been donated by the Chemistry department at the University of Cincinnati. Digitally, we use Google services to host instruction documents and for planning events/RSVP.
A centralized website would greatly help in accomplishing this changemaker. It could act as a database where any chapter can access activities to plan, or to submit brand new activities/enhance existing ones. Videos could also be hosted on the website to give a better understanding on how each experiment works. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for anyone to help set up within their local community.
9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.
Partnering with other local colleges and schools, or even across the nation, could create a centralized network of Science Clubs. By sharing resources, guidelines, and ideas, the organization could be run smoothly due to being organized and focused.
How did you hear about this challenge?