I had the opportunity to share my Gold Award project with members of my community, and it was one of the most valuable parts of the whole Gold Award process.
For my Gold Award project, I am working to help underprivileged students throughout Colorado have access to STEM learning. I have worked to address the two root causes of this issue: a lack of support and a lack of resources. My goal is to aid in the participation of underprivileged youth in the quality STEM-based program Destination Imagination.
Destination Imagination is a creative problem solving competition, in which teams of students work for up to 9 months developing solutions to science, technology, engineering, and artistic challenges, developing team work and project management skills along the way. I chose this program, because it has the infrastructure and potential to change kids’ lives and I believe every child should have access to it.
To combat the lack of support that students in poverty often face, I developed a mentorship program to aid adult leaders of Destination Imagination teams in underprivileged communities.
To address the resource issue, I assembled “Tool Tubs” which contain the tools necessary for students to develop a solution to a Destination Imagination challenge, and which will be distributed to underprivileged teams across Colorado for loan each season. I knew that to meet my financial goals and be able to assemble the number of “Tool Tubs” that I was striving for, I needed a lot of community support. That is why I applied for The Conifer Newcomers and Neighbors Grant. The grant is given to deserving community organizations in my town, Conifer, and is aimed at helping non-profit organizations and groups achieve their goals.
I requested enough money to assemble five “Tool Tubs,” and I was very graciously granted the money by Conifer Newcomers and Neighbors. February 2 was the grant award ceremony, and I had the opportunity to receive my check and speak about my project in front of the 140 members of the Conifer Newcomers and Neighbors organization as well as the leaders of nearly 15 other Conifer organizations. The audience members included my high school and elementary school principals, the town fire chief, various members of my school’s staff, and leaders of many charitable organizations throughout Colorado. Being able to share my project with them was especially meaningful, as they are all people working to make a valuable difference in this world.
I am extremely proud to have taken on the challenge of writing a grant request and am excited to have been able to share my project with so many people. The impact that the money will have towards making the world a better place and the many positive responses I got from my audience, made all the hard work worth it and made me feel empowered as a leader.