To empower under-resourced individuals to grow in their knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Arts.
Delivering art activity kits to military hospital
Arts-N-STem4Hearts at Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital
Preparing kits to be delivered to Children's Inn at NIH, Bethesda, MD and Children's National Medical Center in Wash DC.
Arts-n-STEM4Hearts high school volunteers helping middle school students to learn about plants and human anatomy.
Arts-n-STEM4Hearts high school volunteers helping middle school students to create electrical circuits.
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
7/5/03 and 2/16/04
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10112 Norton Road, Potomac, MD 20854
Phone: (301) 7851017
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project Started
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. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
We want to empower the underserved local communities to expand their understanding and capabilities in the fields of arts and STEM. An integrated part of our ecosystem, arts and STEM is something that can’t be overlooked. The Kirwan Commission found Maryland schools are underfunded by $3 billion failing to help improve literacy in the STEM field. Without the arts and STEM, it is impossible for students to reach their full creative potential.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
We have started Arts-n-STEM4Hearts which is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to empower under-resourced individuals to grow in their knowledge of STEM and promote healing through the arts. We promote STEM learning by delivering age-appropriate STEM project materials to under-resourced communities in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools system of Maryland. To increase STEM awareness in local communities, we also publish various STEM resources such as information on STEM competitions, college preparation/planning activities, internship opportunities and careers, on the foundation’s website. We provide art activity kits to children in hospitals and to the elderly in nursing homes to promote healing through art therapy. We inspire both children and the elderly to share their artwork on the foundation’s website as an encouragement to others. We hold Artistic Workshops and Brain Boosters Technology sessions at senior centers to bridge the gap between generations and encourage learning through mentoring. We are currently working on the logistics of distributing the arts and STEM kits to local K-12 schools located in under-served communities of our county.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
At the MCPS’s ELO-SAIL summer program, I helped teach young students at Title 1 schools how to do basic math and reading. Volunteering at the Tacy Foundation, I inspired people with my musical talent.
Through X-STEM, we assisted middle school students interested in STEM but lacked opportunities. This was a peer-to-peer engagement, with high school students providing hands on STEM sessions to middle schoolers.
At Walter Reed Hospital my interactions with children patients experimenting with different colors was amazing. As a volunteer, my fondest memories are of the young kids at Walter Reed who showed me that amidst any difficult circumstances, our mind is resilient.
I decided to begin ARTS-n-STEM 4 Hearts to engage individuals to feel the joy of learning while being creative, and with a goal to inspire under-resourced students to pursue STEM education and careers.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
We focus on a select group that includes children in long term medical care, elderly in professional care and the under-resourced communities. Through personal funds and individual philanthropy we raised over $3000, to deliver 600 art kits to local hospitals, provided 32 hands-on STEM lessons, and publish valuable STEM resources on the foundation’s website. We had up to 40 volunteers spend over 256 hours to make a difference.
Amber and Dhruv presenting the elevator pitch for Arts-N-STEM4 Hearts. In the foreground can be seen the activity kits to be distributed to the under resourced population in the community
Teaching STEM activities to the under-resourced kids in middle schools, as part of X-STEM club
Assembling and delivering Arts activity kits to nursing homes, and interacting with senior citizens.
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
We partnered with Montgomery County Volunteer Center which allowed us to broadcast serving opportunities to the student community. Individuals volunteering with us have the added benefit of earning student service learning hours to meet the county’s high school graduation requirements. After serving a few times with us, our volunteers are asking for the next serving opportunity because they enjoy serving. In one instance, we had a resident at an elderly community not wanting to participate in arts but once the team persuaded him to start, we had three completed paintings by him in one session because it was so much fun for him. We are continuing to engage the local school community and provide additional opportunities for kids needing help in arts and STEM. We are also promoting STEM-based careers learning and training through students-educator and students-employer partnerships.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Arts-n-STEM4hearts started with the goal of leveling the playing field in STEM and arts education. We use the arts aspect by providing healing art activity kits to children in hospitals and elderly in nursing homes, thereby increasing awareness to arts. We hold brain booster technology sessions for the elderly and also provide STEM learning kits to children in underprivileged and under-resourced communities. In this way, we show students that STEM and arts professions are multifaceted, they find the “x factor in STEM” that appeals to their interests.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
We have prepared over 600 Art kits and delivered them to Children’s Inn, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Children’s National Medical Center. With the support of volunteers from local high school, we held 32 X-STEM sessions in partnership with Montgomery county after school program and provided high-school volunteers mentoring and logistical support to lead the hands-on STEM based sessions. We launched our website through volunteer support and published up-to-date STEM resources to inform the under served community.
Story - One elder at Rockville Nursing home, who had never painted in his life and was reluctant to participate. The hesitancy slowly melted away as our team of volunteers continued to encourage him to paint. And once he was teamed up with Arts-n-STEM volunteers, he made his first painting and did two more afterwards.
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
· The foundation would like to expand the ambassador program outside of the Montgomery County and expand towards the tri-state areas.
· Leverage our new website by adding social media so participants can easily share their accomplishment through mobile solutions.
· Provide an interface to better link disadvantaged generations to collaborate through Arts-n-STEM
· Bring more of the Arts-n-STEM packages to the underserved children in our community.
· Help students learn about STEM careers and the required education and skills before they graduate from high school or college
· We also want to introduce the kids to RaspberryPi do-it-yourself (DIY) kits for doing innovative STEM and programming activites.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations between $100-$1k
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Communities of color
Religious minority (non-Christian)
How did you hear about this challenge?
Participated in previous Ashoka challenges