My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for FIRST, Manchester, NH, USA
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!
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
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