FIRST

Rating: 4.87 stars   63 reviews

Issues:

Location: 200 Bedford Street Manchester NH 03101 USA

Mission: FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Inventor Dean Kamen to inspire and excite secondary high school students about mathematics, science and engineering. Many companies and organizations have established bridges with local schools to help ensure the future presence of a qualified work force, few programs have been developed on the national level. One program that has, and has been very successful in its mission, is the national robotics competition of FIRST. The FIRST conducts regional and national design competitions which demonstrate that engineering, math and science can be interesting, captivating and entertaining as a sporting event.
Target demographics: participants master skills and concepts to aid in learning science and technology through innovative projects and robotics competitions, while gaining valuable employment and life skills.
Geographic areas served: US and 80+ countries
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with FIRST Robotics for 12 years.
While I no longer FIRST will save the world from itself (our problems are too diverse and deep for any one size fits all solution) I do believe FIRST is one of the best tools to help you cope with the uncertain future facing our youth.
The level of professionalism this program has is amazing. From the game production. to the distribution of kits to teams to the amazing events. I think the polished production helps FIRST spread the word. It actually comes off as more legit than Battlebots which I felt was more of a disorganized exhibition that a competition.
FIRST not only teaches kids skills that help with STEM activities but life skills as well. Accountability.Responsibility. Integrity. Creativity. Personal growth that will help these students (and often the adults as well) get further in life. I endorse FIRST to anyone who's ear I can mange to catch to tell them about this amazing program.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I became involved with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 2007 when my kids joined our local robotics teams (one in FRC - high school, and one in FLL - intermediate school). This is a world-wide program that encourages students to learn about and become inspired by science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on activities and competitions which are free and open to the public. As an engineer myself I was drawn to help the team and mentor the students in areas from programming to writing award submission essays to working on their presentation skills in front of groups of adults as well as other students. I cannot say enough about the positive skills that my kids learned from their experience on our Robotics teams. They are now in college, one majoring in Computer Science & Engineering and the other majoring in Elementary Education with a collaborative second major in Math and Computer Science. They learned to work as part of a team; they learned math and engineering skills. They learned confidence; they learned respect. They were both honored to be team captains in their senior year; they learned leadership. FIRST is a life long experience that will be with them for the rest of their life. As for me and my husband (yes, we got the whole family involved), we are still mentoring the team even 3 years after our kids have graduated from high school. I too learn something new about engineering, or working with young people, or about myself every year. Our kids also come back and work with the new members of their team when they are on break from college. If you have an opportunity to become involved with a FIRST team, do not hesitate. You will never regret it. It is the hardest fun you will ever have... and the rewards far exceed the cost.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to make it available to more students in the US and around the world. This program changes lives.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I was introduced to FIRST through my son. Coming from a background of electromechanical industrial controls, I naturally took to the organization. The students and mentors involved are the best people to inspire young minds of today. The FIRST organization provides a venue for the team and personnel talents. The yearly challenge and strict rules allows the wildest designs to come to life and solve very difficult problem. Everyone, no mater the skill level can have a huge part of a team. The best part of FIRST is that an entire school can be a part of the project. No matter the interest every student can play a role in a FIRST team. The draw for me as a volunteer is the total package. But helping students explore science and problem solving techniques has been very rewarding and always leaves me cheering on the teams.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

FIRST is a program that gets high school students more educated in robotics and engineering. It is much better than a normal classroom setting, where you follow a set of instructions to complete your robot and learn the VERY basics of programming. FIRST is definately trial and error based, where students are encouraged to think outside the box or normality, and come of with great ideas. One of the best parts about FIRST is how the games are as fun and exciting as a tradtional sporting event; even the atmosphere is similar to going to baseball/football game. I have been involved in FIRST for only two years, and I have already gotten these messages I am explaining and many more. If it were not for FIRST I would certainly not be as knowledgible in robotics, and not considering going to college at CMU or MIT, definately one of the most prestieged science/technology colleges in the world. I would personally like to thank FIRST for intoducing me into a new field I may not have been interested in otherwise.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organization that gets kids excited about engineering, science, and technology. Excited doesn't really quite cover it. Students participating in FIRST events are more enthusiastic about conquering engineering challenges than any Pittsburgh sport fan. Every time I go to the competitions I am amazed by the excitement and energy of these kids.

I am a mentor with a FIRST Robotics team at a local high school. (There are other FIRST organizations for junior high and elementary school ages, too.) Each year FIRST Robotics introduces a new engineering design challenges in the form of a game. All the teams have six weeks to build a robot to play this game. At the end of the six weeks we ship the robot and don't see it again until competition. I work as an engineer and having a deliverable in only six weeks is an amazing feat.

One of the things that impresses me most about FIRST is the concept of “gracious professionalism”. The teams are very focused on winning the game, but they are even more tightly focused on helping everyone have a good competition. It is not uncommon for a team to show up at competition missing a key component (such as a working program for their robot) and by the end of the day other teams will have helped them get the machine up and running. The culture of gracious professionalism is, I think, my favorite thing about FIRST. We are helping train young people to go in to the world and be fierce, focused, competitive, but NOT jerks!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I don't know that I have any substantial changes. I have been very satisfied with my participation with the Pittsburgh FIRST organization.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked with FIRST as a volunteer at a regional competition and I am in my second year as a mentor to a high school that has both FTC and FRC teams. FIRST is a great way to address the STEM needs in our schools. The kids on these teams are the best. One of the most important things they learn from FIRST is gracious professionalism. Former FIRST graduates in our school have gone on to study various types of engineering, computer software, even biomedical engineering. The regional competitions are a lot of fun for the kids. I really enjoy working with these young people.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Lower the registration fees for FRC. Local fundraising has been difficult

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been working with a FISRT team for 10 years. We get young 9th graders who know very little about robotics, design, building, tools, etc. When they graduate as 12th graders, they have a huge head start on their college peers.

I have had seen several students win full 4-year scholarships to college based upon their FIRST experience. There are dozens of colleges offering FIRST scholarship.

FIRST changes lives! These children are our technological future.

To learn more, visit their website at FIRST dot org. Also, do a youtube search and see some fantastic videos.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Review from The Pittsburgh Foundation
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

A family friend had mentioned that there was this FIRST group built around STIMs, (I did not know what the meant), but I knew that it was robotics and my one boy was very interested. So, I supported it and then became immersed in this amazing culture. We had worked together in another creative thinking team competition and that really creates an environment for the kids to come up with ideas, learn how to articulate their ideas so the team can understand their ideas and then bring it to life in the CAD program, and then physically. I am in my second year of mentoring. My other son has joined a team in his age group and I was am still blown away by the things the kids create and the "Gracious Professionalism" demonstrated by them and everyone in this program. I am still overwhelmed that a little over two years ago, I had no idea it even existed.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I decided to donate to FIRST after interacting with some of the kids at the local farmer's market. They were all very knowledgeable about the robot, how it was built, and the plans for the team. The local team (MARS) invited me to their weekly practice, and I've been hooked as a mentor ever since. The program really gives these wonderful kids a great outlet for their intelligence and creativity, and I enjoy the opportunity to assist them. I was in different gifted/magnet programs and schools as a child, but this is so much more advanced than any of the programs I was ever exposed to. I see FIRST doing a great job, and I'm happy to devote my time to it, even though I don't have any kids.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My husband and I became involved in the FIRST organization 6 yrs ago when my son joined his school robotics team as a Freshman. One of the most impressive things we have witnessed is how these kids do not hesitate to help other teams during competitions. They compete against each other yet they are there without hesitation when one team is having trouble and needs assistance. They cheer for one another and pick each other up when they are down. Thanks to FIRST my son learned what real team work means and learned how to be a leader. These are life lessons and skills that will help take him through his personal life and his career. He is now in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati and landed a co-op position at an engineering firm thanks to the skills he learned while being a member of FIRST ROBOTICS Team 279.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not change a thing.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?