I've worked with this program for four years and I really enjoyed every bit of it. Learning Is For Everyone is a great organization all together.
A long, long time ago I got an Erector set for Christmas when I was about 5. I learned an amazing amount of engineering skills from this one basic set. Unfortunately, I was never able to convince my parents that I needed the electric motor kit for more involved creations but fortunately, I had to improvise a solution for powering my projects. This led to scrap 110V clock motors and lots of bare wires and quite a few electrical shocks. But I learned. Then came the chemistry set and electric trains with the same results. These were not only fun toys, they were great engineering learning experiences and I carried these skills with me for the rest of my life. As the owner of a small machine shop I have turned these early engineering experiences from a hobby into a business where I provide my customers with "Special Projects, Invention & Wizardry".
I have been a mentor to LI4E and TEAM DUCT TAPE for several years and have worked closely with the LI4E team on all their robotics projects and a couple of Red Bull challenges. I see LI4E as the modern day equivalent of those early Erector and chemistry sets. The kids get real hands-on experience in real world engineering challenges and in just one build season get more practical engineering experience than my toys provided me in several years of use. I had to figure things out for myself. The LI4E team is a streamlined way to introduce students to a future in engineering and many of the past team members have already gone on to pursue an engineering education if not jumping right into an engineering career.
LI4E is a wonderful vehicle that provides not-so-cookie-cutter opportunities for people of all ages and encourages them to share their interests and skills.
Three years ago, our son was introduced to LI4E via its FIRST FTC Robotics team at the USF
Engineering Expo. At this outreach event, LI4E’s “Team Duct Tape” was demonstrating their robot to the public. Our son was interested in joining a robotics club but had not been able to locate one nearby in which he could participate. When we followed up with Terri Willingham at LI4E, she explained the program and offered our son a chance to join the team as an apprentice when the new season started.
It was not long before he was a full-fledged member, spending his Saturdays building robots and
competing in FTC matches. We were happy to see that the team operated in a manner that reflected
the values in the LI4E mission statement of collaborative learning. Our son is now starting his third year with the team. And last year, we became coaches for Team Duct Tape which has been both challenging and fulfilling.
Our family has participated in other inspiring LI4E activities, including the Mini-Maker Faire, Red Bull Challenge, and TEDx events. We are always interested to learn about LI4E projects because they often
provide an unusual opportunity that you are glad to make time to attend.
We recommend LI4E for its goal to inspire love of life-long learning and its commitment to providing worthwhile programs.
I was a mentor and coach for 2013 Dixie Hollins FRC Team 4769. We received mentorship and assistance from LI4E that enabled our rookie team to compete with experienced teams. Teri and her team believe in STEM education and are tireless in the promotion of STEM. I really can't say enough good things about LI4E. We need more organizations like this one to help children learn.
LI4E (Learning Is For Everyone) focuses a huge effort on creating experiential learning opportunities for students that go way beyond the classroom and inspires young hearts and minds to pursue careers in the sciences, technology and engineering disciplines. I am honored and even humbled to be able to support such a noble cause, paying forward my own engineering career experiences by offering support and guidance to today's students that will become tomorrow's leaders.
I have been part of TedxYouth@TampaBay as its graphic designer since day one. Terri, the program director for LIFE is an amazing woman that had a vision to showcase the best of people making a change in our community, nation, and world. The TedxY speakers and performers are young men and women who are passionate, determined and strive to set an example for others to follow. I am honored to be part of such an organization.
My husband and I are so thankful to have found LIFE. We are excited to be involved with such a high standard organization that is making a difference in the lives of children everywhere. We are greatful that our son can reap the benefits of being a recipient of LIFE's gifts. America needs LIFE, now more than ever.