Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipient Claire used her award to further develop her program STEM4Students. S4S provides a four-day STEM summer camp to 100 economically disadvantaged 2nd grade students at Guadalupe Center in Florida. Claire’s goal with STEM4Students is to make it possible for students who might not think or know about STEM to turn knowledge about it into a potential career.
- How many volunteers participated in your project? How many hours did it involve? Originally 8 teenagers led the project, and approximately 15 adult volunteers assisted. This year the number of teenagers increased to 11 and the adult count nearly doubled. It took hundreds of hours and planning and spending time in the community. This summer, we spent about 4 hours onsite each day for two weeks.
- What did you learn from this experience? From this experience, I learned that managing people is a skill that takes an incredible balance of patience and willingness to get your hands dirty. I also learned about the necessity of planning for a successful program, as the students were interested because we understood our material and could effectively engage them.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? Our project will continue having an impact in the future not only because our program will continue to reach elementary students and introduce them to STEM for years to come, but it will also hopefully motivate these students to continue learning about STEM fields and break the cycle of poverty through education and innovation.
- Overall, summarize how your project was completed and how you think it went. Our project this past summer ran over the course of a week in which 100 2nd grade students rotated between our four STEM activities each day for 1-1.5 hours. I believe we were extremely successful among the adults and the children, as we were invited back for double time with double the students this summer, and the students selected us as their favorite summertime activity.
- How was the Karma for Cara microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? The Karma for Cara microgrant was helpful in the completion of our project because we were be able to add an activity, teaching students the basics of coding, allowing them to code their own Lego robots. This helped us extend the fields of STEM we span and not only cultivate more interest in STEM among the students but also increase interactivity and independence in our curriculum.