US Cellular donates $32,000 for STEM programs at local Boys and Girls Club

9 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The 21st Century STEM education site at the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns is getting a boost in funding through a partnership with US Cellular.

The $32,000 donation from US Cellular will help the non-profit Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns increase the amount of relevant STEM education activities involving science technology, engineering and math.

The Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns has three buildings in the Mi’kmaq community in Presque Isle, Maliseet community in Houlton, and Sipayik community in Perry. The clubs have more than 300 kids within the communities of Aroostook and Washington counties.

The funding hasn’t been benchmarked for specific Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns groups at this point, but staff is making plans to use the funds for their STEM and high-yield learning programs, according to Fenton Jones, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns.

“As part of one of our evidence-based programs — which is Maine Power Hour — we engage youth in homework help and assistance through engagement of mentors and local tutors,” Fenton said.

The STEM programs are targeted to children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 17 years old in the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns.

“We engage local knowledge keepers from each of our tribal communities in making sure that they can provide input and feedback,” Jones said.

The STEM programming for the youths in the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns contain cultural components from the tribal communities. This is to ensure that the native language is present and the cultural piece is included, but is different for each tribal government involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns, Fenton said.

Josiah Jackins, the 21st Century coordinator at the Mi’kmaq location, engages science, technology, engineering and math with kids like making bouncy balls from scratch and RC car building as well, according to Robin Thurston, former program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns.

“We find excitement in learning with all ages in our STEM curriculum,” Thurston said.

Some upcoming projects in the Boys and Girls Club STEM curriculum programs are a model of the human body in which kids and teenagers can learn about the inside and outside functions of the human body.

Part of the recent funding from US Cellular to the Boys and Girls Club of Border Towns in Presque Isle might be used for a Pinewood Derby with the kids, which is building wooden cars to be raced on a sloping track to teach mechanical engineering and physics.