LI4E provides opportunities for individuals of all experience levels and backgrounds to explore the world and stretch their imaginations in a tangible and real-life applicable manner. By collaborating with other organizations, LI4E brings the best that others have offered together to offer students in Tampa Bay and beyond the benefit of years of experience from teachers/mentors all over the world!
As volunteer program director for Learning is for Everyone, I'm excited about the great work we're doing bringing innovative learning and empowered living to more people, especially through the development of our Community Innovation Center program. Collaborating with area libraries and other organizations, the Community Innovation Center concept promises to revitalize libraries and neighborhoods, helping make people empowered creators of their own futures and ours. Everything we do - from hosting TEDxYouth@TampaBay, now in its fourth year, to our FIRST Community STEM education programs, to our Makers Festivals - is designed to bring accessible, inclusive, inspired creativity to as many people as possible, helping us change culture from passive consumption to active creation.
The future is limitless and LI4E provides a marvelous canvass for creating the lives we imagine, for ourselves, our families, our children, our communities and our country.
As vice president of Learning is for Everyone for the last two years, my role has been an active and enjoyable one, but not always a deeply personal one. When we rose to the challenge of creating a community based high school level robotics team in an area of Tampa Bay lacking the hands on experiences FIRST offers, that changed. Administering the FIRST program through Learning is for Everyone's FTC Team Duct Tape has given us an unparalleled opportunity to reach youth in a three county area, engage in our community with local area businesses and organizations, and to introduce this dynamic robotics and engineering program to hundreds of youth in the area, and to reach even more with our information and education-rich website. In just two seasons: â€¢We’ve introduced seven students, from four different public schools, two private schools and homeschools, to FIRST robotics for the very first time. â€¢Four of them went to the FIRST World Championship in their very first season with us - or rather, they helped take us there! â€¢All our new applicants this season are also new to FIRST. â€¢We’re heading into the new season with all of last season’s non-graduating members, now TDT veterans. â€¢All of our graduated members are now in college, at least two in engineering programs. â€¢One of our students interned in CA over the summer, at a robotics company called Anybots. â€¢We’ve provided mini-grants to two other area FIRST community teams, to help support the experiences of a dozen other children in this program. The results of participation in FIRST continue to impress me, and the excitement of the students involved in the program continues to warm and move me. Students participating in FIRST programs are more likely to complete high school and to go on to major in tech and science fields in college. They get first-hand experience and guidance from professional mentors. They learn invaluable teamwork and real-time problem solving skills, in an engaging environment. I'm proud of Learning is for Everyone for actively supporting FIRST robotics in the Tampa Bay area, and hope that we're able to expand our support to other areas in coming years.