17-year old microgrant recipient Anya from Pennsylvania used her award to launch an ongoing summer camp through STEM You Can! an organization that offers free science programs to encourage girls to join STEM fields. Anya is in the process of training eight female peers at her high school to bring the camp to new locations including Illinois and Indiana. Each peer volunteer will commit about 20 hours to volunteering in order to run the camp.
- How many volunteers participated in your service project (other than you)? If applicable, please differ between youth and adult volunteers. Six high school students participated in my service project by running a summer camp in their hometowns. In total, 15 volunteers participated as every camp had additional youth volunteers.
- How many hours did you specifically spend on your project? If other participants were involved, how many hours did they spend on the project? This summer, I spent about 100 hours training camp counselors in other locations, running my own camp, and writing follow-ups to parents, donors, and host libraries. I spent another 100 hours throughout the school year writing the lesson plan and training camp counselors. The other six high school students each spent about 60 hours on the project: 20 over summer teaching the curriculum and 40 throughout the school year preparing.
- How many individuals were affected by your project? The seven camps I oversaw impacted a total of 150 young girls, many of whom are now aspiring scientists! The programs were run in Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, and Illinois.
- What did you learn from this experience? Being able to run my summer camp again was such a rewarding experience. I was reminded why I am passionate about serving my community when I saw the excitement on my campers’ faces. By taking the time to teach them science in an engaging way, their love for the subject truly did grow. I learned how important it is to me to continue to mentor young girls in STEM. One camp counselor even said this experience helped her realize that she wanted to be a teacher!
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? All of the girls who ran summer camps will be running them again next year for a new set of campers. This ensures that we are making an impact on many students in different towns. I am hoping to train more high school students next year and run an after-school program this year. Every program is sustainable; the curriculum can be taught to more students who wish to spark an interest in STEM for the next generation. We will continue to spread to more towns and states every year to impact as many economically disadvantaged students as possible.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. Each girl ran their five-day camp over summer and I followed up with them afterwards. They all received great feedback from both the campers and parents, some of which can be found on our Facebook page. All camp counselors were asked to return to the library to run a session next year, which I interpret as a huge success.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? The microgrant made five of our programs possible! With this grant, we were able to purchase all of the supplies needed in Royersford, Bala Cynwyd, Pottstown, Reading, and Bellaire. This impacted about 150 young girls and allowed our program to expand to Texas. Hopefully these girls will go on to study STEM in school and recommend the program to their friends.