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Kickstarting STEM in Austin High Schools with Velocity

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We are a month into this year’s Velocity programming and everyone is off to a great start. We have three projects happening at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, with students working on everything from Solar Design to self-irrigating gardens! And did you know we’re blogging about our process over at the State Farm Youth Advisory Board? We’re proud to be a recipient of their youth-led service-learning project grants for one of our Velocity Prep projects this summer, and to keep everyone posted, we’re writing about our preparation on their site. This summer we will be posting project updates over there, so don’t miss out!

A few highlights from our process so far:

  • Velocity is a service learning program, with an emphasis on the participants learning STEM and soft skills while making a difference in their community
  • Velocity success depends on 5 things: Skillpoint staff, enthusiastic students, facilitators as peer-mentors, a supportive host school, and an industry client as mentor
  • Being hosted at schools and including a stipend means that the program is accessible to far more students, especially those who may need to stay close to home and have an income
  • Past successes include improvements to local schools and affirmation from the CEO of WPEngine herself!

This summer the Youth Advisory Board project will focus on powering up local communities with sustainable energy. Velocity teams will develop a solution for their client Mobile Loaves and Fishes—a non-profit that provides food and clothing for the homeless—to design a sustainable energy solution for the Community First! Village, an innovative 27-acre community designed to provide a stable home for disabled, chronically homeless people in Central Texas. The work of the POWERUp teams will both support the community need for low-cost energy and prepare students for STEM post-secondary programs and careers. To keep track of our progress as we lead up to this project, be sure to visit our blog posts at State Farm!