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to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County

Wellington, FL – (September 1, 2016) In an effort to increase academic achievement in children and youth, the Jacobs Family Foundation is partnering with the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington and awarding a $25,000 grant to support STEM Programming over the 12 months. These programs emphasize basic academics on a technology platform using a series of (45 min – 1.5 hour) project-based lessons.  The STEM educational programs include various modules and initiatives that focus on science, technology, engineering and math and are divided according to age group and skill level, affording each participating child opportunities to learn and excel at their own pace and level without the fear of failure. Some of the STEM educational programs are:

  • Rocketry (ages 8 – 16) – focuses on science, technology, and flight of model rockets.
  • Robo Tech (ages 10 – 18) – a curriculum that challenges members to build, program, and test a LEGO Mindstorm EV3 robot. By the end of the eight sessions, they will have constructed a fully functional robot and acquired the skills to program its every move.
  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL) (ages 10 – 16) –  teams are created through a competitive application and skills-related review of all participating members.  Teams selected from our Clubs are prepared to compete in FLL challenges. The FLL seasonal challenges are held each August and teams participate in regional and national FLL competitions as they advance.  Championships are held in January and culminate with a world festival in April.
  • Ready for Robotics (ages 13 – 18) – engages small groups of high school youth in a robotics engineering design process and demonstrates real-world NASA applications such as building to specifications and solving technical problems.
  • FPL’s Energy Projects (6 -18) – includes exploring different types of natural energy (wind, water, and sun), with an emphasis on conservation.
  • STEM Sims (6 – 18) – an online STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) educational tool that offers over 100 interactive simulations of laboratory experiments and engineering design projects that immerse participants into virtual worlds, promoting inquiry.
  • Space School Musical (10 – 18) – a trip through the solar system utilizing an ultra-cool edu-tainment “hip-hopera” that is out of this world!  Members move and groove along with the planets, moons, meteors, comets, asteroids, and even some rockin’ scientists as they sing, dance, and serve up the freshest facts in the galaxy.
  • Game Tech (10 – 18) – a module that provides a fun introduction to the field of video game development and the principles of design, animation mechanics, and software.  This module fosters the knowledge and skills needed to understand game and programming fundamentals.

Technology modules provide members with basic computer skills; introduce them to digital movie making, music production, photography, graphic design and Web development, homework help, and educational software. The programs listed below exemplify the technology area and include:

  • NetSmartz (ages 6 – 18) is a comprehensive program from BGCA and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children teaches members Internet safety skills through engaging multimedia activities and offline interaction with Club professionals. Club members are divided into three age-appropriate groups.
  • MyFuture.net (ages 6 – 18) is a suite of staff-facilitated project-based experiences that provide members of all ability levels with a foundation of technology skills.
  • Backpocket (ages 6 – 18) is the fastest way to introduce members to technology through fun, educational, easy-to-use activities.

The foundation chose the Boys & Girls Clubs as the recipient of this grant because of the organization’s commitment to offering academic and social enrichment programs to disadvantaged youth who are in need of a safe alternative to self-care during the critical non-school hours in fully-appointed, safe facilities throughout Palm Beach County. The Clubs’ Core Programs, which are aligned with the BGCA’s Formula for Impact, comprise six areas: Character & Leadership; Education & Career Development; Health & Life Skills; the Arts; Sports, Fitness & Recreation; and Technology/STEAM. Through these programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County directly addresses and mitigates the four most significant threats to Palm Beach County’s children in kindergarten through high school; poor reading proficiency, compromised school attendance, discipline and suspension from school, and regular attendance (as determined in 2014 by the Palm Beach County Infant, Child and Youth Symposium in 2014-15, now called “Birth to 22 – United for Brighter Futures”).   BGCPBC offers unimpeded access to programs and services that include daily snacks and hot meals, which help members, build resilience to risk factors, succeed academically, graduate from high school, and develop career goals.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County
Founded in 1971, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is a not-for profit youth development organization dedicated to promoting the educational, vocational, health leadership and character of boys and girls in a safe, nurturing environment. The Clubs provide more than a safe, fun and constructive alternative to being home alone – they offer a variety of award-winning developmental programs to help youth build skills, self-esteem and values during critical periods of growth. The thirteen Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Palm Beach County serve more than 8,000 children ages 6-18. For more information, please visit www.bgcpbc.org or call 561-683-3287.

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