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FIRST

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Engineering & Technology, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Technology, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The mission of FIRST is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Geographic areas served: 100+ countries

Community Stories

180 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Gabriella Gyurko A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Team even has a rock band now - because - this is not just a robot

Client Served

Rating: 5

Well, i had been for 3 years on a tram omg FTC. It is such an amazing experience. We had learned many things while this competition. One of the things i like the most is that is international; I’m from Mexico, but this didn’t stop us of competing on our country. Here you learn many things. here also the team learned a new vision, how besides the robot we need to be, it has a lot of humanity this competition. Being a member of a member of a team of FTC had changed my life.

Also because of this competition we had also changed our community. We want to inspire others to learn about STEM, so we went to other schools and teach a little about FIRST vision.
Greetings from Hermosillo, Sonora.

Client Served

Rating: 5

FIRST is an organization designed to prepare kids for careers in STEM through competitive robotics. It's been a huge factor in making my high school years rewarding and fulfilling as well as giving them direction: through FIRST, I was able to gain hands-on career-level experience in what I really want to do: software engineering. Not only that, I was able to do it with a tight-knit community of like-minded kids, while making friends with other students from all over the world. Each year, every team designs and builds an 120 pound robot from scratch in just six weeks, to take part in a set challenge. Students learn skills such as design, CAD, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering, project management, and business skills needed to fundraise and keep the team going. It's been one of the most exciting and profitable things I've done with the past four years and I want to continue in the program as a mentor once I graduate high school.

Client Served

Rating: 5

FIRST has enabled me to learn about the uses of stem and robotics and to compete against and work together with many other stem enthusiasts on my team and others.

Kevin S.6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I encountered First Robotics in 1992. Working with my engineering coworkers and teaching the students about the design process was really fun. Seeing the reaction of the students when a design went from the whiteboard to a fully functioning robot was priceless. So many students gave engineering a second look and a few of those students are now coworkers in my engineering department. As an additional benefit, working with my fellow engineers, outside of the workplace, really enhanced our cooperation on work projects. FIRST robotics is a great program for students and engineers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined a FIRST Robotics Competition team my senior year of high school, it was a fantastic experience and inspired me to become an engineer. I've now been mentoring FIRST Robotics Competition teams for five years, and have seen the tremendous impact FIRST has on my students and others in our community. Unlike many other STEM programs, FIRST connects students with industry mentors who guide them through intense design challenges, showing them that they have what it takes to be an engineer, and often help them to get jobs and internships after graduation.

Client Served

Rating: 5

FIRST through their competitions has greatly affected me in the following ways: my critical thinking skills has improved, touch of excellence in everything, organizational skills too. The impact of FIRST on my students is amazing too, it makes them critical and creative thinkers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Find another organization that has such a massive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of students each and every year, I dare you. FIRST isn't just a charity, its a pathway for your life. I started FIRST over 4 years ago while I was in high school, and now I mentor for two teams while being a full time college student. I help guide others towards their passion in engineering, while continuing to learn these skills myself. My decision to join FIRST has impacted my life greater than any other decision I have ever made, and FIRST continues to inspire a huge portion of the next generation of engineers, technicians, and scientists. Not only does this provide a huge benefit to these students, but it makes an immeasurable impact on the world around us. The next great discoveries, or breakthrough companies, or amazing achievements in the world of STEM, will probably come from someone who was inspired and participated in FIRST programs.

Erica Garver P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with FIRST has been the most rewarding experience. You get to see the immediate impact your volunteer role has on the program/ youth. Whether you volunteer at a competition or work directly with a team as a mentor, the experience is so gratifying. All skill levels are welcome, you don't have to be technical to have a meaningful role or to create impact. Having the opportunity to work with the youth at FIRST is inspiring and makes me feel optimistic about our future!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I first discovered FIRST when my son did FIRST LEGO LEAGUE in the fifth grade. He and his friends had so much fun, they went on to do the Penn State Fire Fighting competition on their own. When I began teaching (my second? career) a few years later, I brought his NXT equipment and other Lego supplies to the HS in Philadelphia where I taught math and science. There I initially set up a robotics club using the NXT equipment, but at the HS level we had aged out of the FLL competition. So back to Penn State we went. My all female minority team was spotted there and we received a grant to become the first FIRST Tech Challenge team in the city of Philadelphia!
I no longer teach in Philadelphia, but I am still involved because I believe this is one of the most supportive, amazing programs out there for all students - any age, any ability. The growth in confidence, the development of communication and collaboration skills, the embracing of core values and gracious professionalism inspire me every day. I now mentor 10+ teams from FLL through FRC, and work relentlessly to bring this program to others in my area.

1 Koko P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I know it's a cliche but FIRST has absolutely changed my life! It has given me a great sense of purpose and self worth. I fully dedicated my life to the program and see no end to my dedication. I have never met a group of kinder, driven and capable people in my life! It will not save the world but is a great resource for anyone who is involved!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a mentor of two high school teams that participate in the FIRST FRC program. I also have worked with the FIRST Louisiana Mississippi Region President and Director to assist them in developing their regional strategy.

I have found the FIRST organization to be highly professional. It is well-run, with excellent focus on ethics and on delivering meaningful results -- namely the development and inspiration of youth to pursue STEM interests and careers.

As a retired engineer and corporate executive in a STEM industry, I believe that this organization is extremely important to the future of our society, of the environment, and of our economy.

FIRST is one of the few organizations that my wife and I choose to support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What this program does for kids, their education and self-confidence is amazing! It is a sport like no other sport!

1 Sara Milliron H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a coach and mom, watching kids gain confidence, get inspired, and develop as a team is amazingly rewarding. They’re there watching each other’s programs run, cheering when it works, and helping their friends figure it out when it doesn’t. This is made possible through FIRST. From Core Values to fun science and tech, to Coopertition - this place has it all.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

5 years ago, I was asked to help teach some high school kids how to use the a 3D printer at the local makerspace. These kids were attentive, motivated, and willing to help other members learn what they learned. It turned out, they were part of a FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics team and they were building a robot for that year's competition. I helped out as a mentor for that team for the next four seasons.

FIRST gave these kids a new challenge every year - one that was difficult but never impossible. They help provide a competitive environment where cooperation, gracious professionalism, a great work ethic, and project management skills were all rewarded. For those loner kids who don't fit in, this is a blessing. They didn't need to be book smart to succeed- they needed to learn to solve problems and communicate to do well. This program is one of the best preparations for working in the real world.

Jim F.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer, mentor and corporate sponsor I watch for the unspoken benefits of FIRST in preparing our next generation of clients, employees and partners. From technology, to planning, administration, project management, working in teams and yes building robots I see the program provide nearly every skill imaginable to prepare for the workforce.

After convincing myself this was for the kids, I realized that each year I learned something myself. I have changed some of my habits, and I have pushed my own limits. For example, I spent most of my career giving presentations. FIRST put me in front of thousands on a big screen! Scary stuff, but I go through it with help from my volunteer mentor.

FIRST is indeed the 'hardest fun you will ever have', regardless of your age or contribution.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Such a great experience for the students participating and the fans watching. Every event is a production and the character shown by the teams with their "Gracious Professionalism" is a model for all. So much time and effort goes into FIRST, but the outcomes are worth it. I've been involved for 10years with over 4,000 hours invested and I am looking forward to another year... truly the hardest fun you can ever have!

Donor

Rating: 5

This was the first year that I donor for this team, and was great, see how teenagers from different places in Chile work all the summer (south hemisphere) for a common objective is amazing on this times. Also, see their effort to be in the competition, because non-US teams are more difficult due that donors have no tax exemption, where funding the team is a harder job. In the end, all were proud to participate, even if they don´t get the grants/recognition that other teams in the US get.

Lesley R.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST is such an amazing nonprofit with a passion for putting tools in the hands of students. As a parent and educator finding a STEM program that ticks all the boxes in a hands on creative way is hard but FIRST does that. Their focus truly is on creating opportunities for kids. Not only is this nonprofit meeting a current need in our society but it is impact the future!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Note: I was both a client served and a volunteer.

My biggest regret was joining a FIRST team three years too late. As someone who has been through the FIRST robotics program and visited elementary schools to promote STEM, I would like to say that year was the best of my high school years. If I hadn't been in a team in high school, I would not have had the technical skill and expertise with CAD, machining, and programming that I do today.

Moreover, FIRST stays true to its tagline of More than Robots: the FIRST Lego League (FLL) program has a research component that lets elementary and middle schoolers research topics that pertain to the robots they just built, and the Chairman's Award for the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) rewards community impact. Most importantly, the FIRST community is supportive; it emphasizes building each other up and competing with integrity.

Mauricio A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

changed my life in an unmeasurable way, loved every second

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST truly does inspire kids to work cooperatively and teaches them core values that they carry throughout their lives. As an FLL coach I can say that I have seen FIRST bring out the best in all of my team members

Keira A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

By doing FTC (One of FIRST’s amazing programs) I was able to learn about not only engineering but also how to work in a group, how to be a leader, how to take charge, how to listen to other people’s ideas, explain things that I was passionate about and how to be literate in the STEM world. FIRST taught me about Gracious Professionalism, which I try to live my life by day to day, and they taught me how to make life long connections that will last a lifetime for me. A lot of my closest friends came from FIRST and the FIRST community really turned into a second family for me.

Jj M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST more than robots is the STEM education tool I continually choose year after year because it offers so much to all qho volunteer and particpate.

Michelle Turner U.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The FIRST family of programs are the BEST at engaging students and introducing them to the STEM jobs the world will need in the future.

Jeremy R. H.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Very rarely do you find a nonprofit where the volunteers so deeply believe in the program that they give up multiple weekends during the holidays to help at events. FIRST is one such nonprofit.

Amy McFarland B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The best part about being a mentor (Team 2342) is getting to see students solve challenging issues and problems on their own, or watching them learn something and then turn around and teach it to another student. It is insanely rewarding. What my three sons have gained from being a part of this student run team is so much more than how to build a robot, they also gained valuable leadership skills, about time management, about fundraising, the importance of helping the community, all while having a blast with teammates that became friends that turned into family.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am a writer for the Prescott eNews in Prescott AZ. I covered our local teams competing against each other in the recent water based challenge. I was highly impressed by the enthusiasm, teamwork and hard work of the teams. I was also impressed by the fact that the volunteers putting on the event included many former team members (although former is not quite correct as they seem to be members for life.) Many are studying or working in STEM fields. I now follow FIRST both locally and worldwide on Facebook.

Michelle R.4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST is a fantastic organization for young people interested in STEM education and careers. They get hands-on experience with realistic parameters (time, budget and materials constraints), giving them a true tase of engineering careers.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated both time and money to FIRST for many years - while the program may be built around robots the real outcome is preparing our next generation leaders to tackle the future!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If I didnt have this program... I wouldn't be attending college or pursuing my dreams!

Jamie S.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Student for 7 years, Mentor for 3, Volunteer for 5. FIRST gives students a real inspiration, and makes them realize that it's cool to be into STEM. No other organization that I've found does that to this degree. I will be with FIRST for a very long time to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome organization with wonderful mission. So many great opportunities to be had through FIRST.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can’t stress enough how important FIRST is to me. I found robotics at a very hard time in my life but it brought me such joy and began to make the pain of that time go away. FIRST teaches kids not just about robotics but about how to be a good person. I truely believe FIRST will create generations of skilled engineers, programmers and even film makers, writers, businesspeople and leaders ( because of the varied aspects of the FIRST programs) who will not only be able to change the world but will have the values and morals to want to Change it for the better. I am so proud to be a part of FIRST, an organization that has helped me learn how I can use my talents to help others.

Susan Barclay N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization made my youngest daughter come to life. Thank you so very, very much. ❤

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology) from 6th through 12th grade. As a nerdy teenage girl, I felt like FIRST was a place where I was accepted and important. I was already interested in science and technology, so I appreciated being mentored by professional engineers and scientists and learning real-world technical skills like college level physics, computer programming, and using power tools. FIRST was an Inspiration and helped me have the skills and confidence to jump headfirst into a hands-on engineering project club in college. In turn, these experiences led into a research position and a NASA internship. I feel like FIRST gave me a head start on my future mechanical engineering career.
Some of my teammates were less technically inclined and have gone on to study less STEM-focused majors. Nevertheless, they learned so much about science and technology that they all have a greater Recognition and appreciation for the role it plays in our lives. Additionally, many hard skills from FIRST do apply to areas beyond the STEM fields. My nursing-major teammates have greater understandings of noise induced hearing loss, foodborne illness, arthritis, and the risk of falls to senior citizens from our years in FLL's Body Forward, Food Factor, and Senior Solutions challenges. My business major teammate used her experience fundraising for our team's trip to the World Championship to help her earn the positions of first Marketing Manager and then General Manager of the Student Store in high school, and she contributed lots of knowledge to our FTC team's business plan.
All of us, regardless of interests, learned many important and endlessly useful soft skills like teamwork, good sportsmanship, initiative, public speaking, commitment, confidence, and a value for learning and for giving back. FIRST is an excellent organization for any child to be a part of, or for any adult to support. Volunteer at a competition, mentor a team, convince your company to sponsor teams or your university to give scholarships or your local politicians to support the teams like a sport, or just visit an event and be amazed by what a group of kids can accomplish with the right help.

Akili A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have 4 children. All have participated at different levels of FIRST. We love it so much that I have started 2 FTC teams, 2 Jr. FLL teams and an FLL team! We want to share this experience with as many as possible,

Deb M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome program all kids should join and have access to.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The experience gave me the most inspiring. I learn so mach in first about since technology and about community and how to communicate with people. I feel I Part of something huge. First Raised my self-confidence and leadership. First is my best world

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Teaches professionalism, teamwork, science and technology - using a sport based model to get students interested. We call it a "Sport for the Mind".
It "doesn't use students to build robots, it uses robots to build students"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been participating with this organization for 7 years now as an Engineering professional helping high school students get interesting in science and technology. It is a great teacher of STEM, teamwork, professionalism and fun....while working hard in the process.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I was an enginering mentor with FIRST for 7 years. It was really awesome seeing these young minds absorbing all this knowledge and using it to better themselves and being so respectful and the best thing I saw was the teamwork they displayed. Not only to each other but to other teams when they needed help.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST provides great opportunities in STEAM learning for kids of all ages. It bridges the gap between traditional classroom education and practical application through robotics challenges and project challenges where teams must solving real problems in their community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best experience of my life. Robots + friends + mentors + learning = SO. MUCH. FUN.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They organise events that inspire young people from all over the world to go into STEM fields.

Client Served

Rating: 5

What a service! Cured my loneliness, helped me get used to America and made my engineering dream com true. Keep it up FIRST.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

FIRST gives me hope for the future. It's more than robots! Youth have the opportunity to look at the world around them and come up with innovative solutions to relevant problems in their community.

Katie_Fedirko

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a 12th grade student in 2004, when I participated in US FIRST Robotics, and it was the most amazing experience ever. Thank you guys for all you do for so many years!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

FIRST is a great organization for getting kids involved in STEM.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST has had a huge positive impact on my life both as a student and a mentor! I'm excited to continue participating in the program for many years to come.

Client Served

Rating: 5

FIRST has changed my life by exposing me, on 4th grade already, to STEM.

Client Served

Rating: 5

A life changing experience! FIRST robotics will always have a place in my heart

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

FIRST robotics was an experience that changed my son’s life. He was a very quiet, shy and reserved little boy when he joined our local FIRST team. FIRST encouraged him to become an out going, confident leader. He found a love for all things mechanical, made life long friendships, & won scholarships through the program which enabled him to attend a university he may not have been able to otherwise. FIRST is a fabulous program for everyone.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a current team member, and a volunteer FIRST helped me a lot!
I was a shy kid, and I thought everybody hated me, and FIRST proved me wrong!
I saw an amazing community, with people just like me, who love robotics and engineering. It is the right place for everyone not just geeks. I will definitely still be here after graduation

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST has made a huge difference in my child’s life, and in mine. She has found new pathways to explore, and found a new passion. And for me, being a coach has helped me not only become a better teacher by learning to be a guide, but has lead me to become interested in STEM topics that I had never considered as “my thing.”

Client Served

Rating: 5

FIRST is focused on immersing K-12 students in engineering through robotics. Teachers and industry professionals mentor students in everything from design to programming to manufacturing to business planning. Alumni love this program so much you’ll see them continue on in key coaching and volunteering positions!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love first! It is absolutely a wonderful program that helps children worldwide be able to connect to stem and brings out the best in them I love my team and it builds so many skills for the future!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST has provided such a rewarding experience for both my kids as students on teams at 3 levels as well as myself as a mentor. This is such an important part of so many young people’s lives who aspire to be future leaders and innovators. It truly is the varsity sport for the mind.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Back when I was in 6th grade I joined this program, through FIRST I got promoted into STEM more and more. I am now currently a senior in High School and if it wasn't for FIRST my path I want to go to in the future would be vastly different. FIRST helps promote STEM and once I'm out of high school I plan to volunteer as much as I can to help promote STEM in today's world.

1 Kanika G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST is an outstanding organization focusing on teaching children the skills and characteristics that are necessary to make them successful in STEM fields. My son has gained programming skills, engineering and technical design skills, research skills, an increased understanding of physics concepts, and core values such as teamwork, perseverance, collaboration and professionalism.

My son has also learned about real world issues as he and his team research the challenges and identify solutions.

FIRST provides many resources that help both coaches and students gain additional skills as we work towards completing challenges and we have found these resources increasing and improving over the past three years that we have been participating in FIRST Lego League.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I started out with FIRST by joining Jr. FLL. I did that for a year, then moved on to FLL. I did that for 5 years, on the same team each year, and we had pretty much the same group of kids every year. It was a lot of fun and I don't regret doing it. At our 2016 state tournament, they announced that there was a change in the age rules for the 2017 season, so that would've left the group of kids we had with 2 or 3 kids that could do it, and our coach didn't want to start with a whole new group. In addition to our team being over, I moved from Michigan to Georgia recently and had to say goodbye to it all. My coach gave me our Gracious Professionalism trophy from the 2016 season, and it's currently sitting on top of my shelf in my new house. We had a good run in our 5 years of being a team, and I'm really going to miss it. I am glad I had the opportunity, and if I could rate FIRST a million stars, believe me, I would. It's a great program and I love that there are different levels for different age groups, so younger kids can get involved as well.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's super fun, all of our kids like it!!!! They stop the video game to design the robot, and learn how to work with different students. It's so great.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was on a FIRST Team for 5 years (8th-12th grade), and I can honestly say it changed my life for the better. My mentors pushed me to be courageous, intuitive, and passionate, and my teammates reminded me everyday of why I stayed. With my skills that I developed using FIRST (self esteem, public speaking, social skills, engineering skills, work ethic) I ended getting into Princeton, the school of my dreams, and I couldn't be happier!

Everett H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I started in FLL I was a shy third grader, when I left my high school's FRC team I was a different person. Being in FIRST gave me confidence and the ability to talk to people, if I had not joined a FIRST team then I probably will still be in a shell. I was nominated for the Dean's list which is one of the best moments of my life and became the team captain during my senior year of high school. Along with all of this it FIRST taught me how to work with people that i may not see eye to eye with but learn to put it past and work for a common goal.