Engineering Adventures Curriculum Awarded to 14 Out-of-School Programs

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This week, Engineering is Elementary announced that, thanks to contributions from SheGives, 14 new out-of-school programs will receive the Engineering Adventures curriculum. The programs selected are working to close the opportunity gap for groups that remain underrepresented in STEM careers, such as women and minorities. With help from SheGives, EiE was able to award 30 scholarships in September of this year, bringing the total number of programs aided this year up to 44. 

One notable scholarship recipient from the first round of awards in September is South Sudanese Enrichment for Families (SSEF) located in Malden. SSEF is a nonprofit that works to advance education and employment for South Sudanese refugees and their families. The program got its start in 2001 when, in the wake of the world’s longest civil war, more than two hundred “Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan” were resettled in Boston. “Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan” is the name aid workers gave to the more than 20,000 children (most of them about 7 or 8 years old) who in 1983 were displaced from their homes by civil war in the Sudan; many of these children were also orphaned. In harrowing months-long treks, they walked hundreds of miles with little food or water to reach Ethiopia—and then spent years in a refugee camp. Among the meager possessions they carried with them, some brought books, an expression of their hope for a good education in the future. Ultimately, a resettlement program brought many of these children—grown to young adults—to the United States. 

Photo credit: Ellen Morgan of South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

Photo credit: Ellen Morgan of South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

One of the ways SSEF supports the local South Sudanese community is through its Saturday Bridges program, which brings entire families to a local school where instructors offer educational (and fun) programs for the kids and continuing education and parenting workshops for the adults. “We know how important STEM education has become in schools, and offering supplemental STEM education through our program is an important goal,” says SSEF executive director Ron Moulton. “So we have a coding program, we’ve embraced the Maker movement—and we’re always on the lookout for new STEM activities. We have a fairly small budget, so we look for cost-effective ways to add programming. When we heard about the scholarship, it seemed like a good fit.”

Photo credit: Ellen Morgan of South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

Photo credit: Ellen Morgan of South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

“I like that Engineering Adventures is pretty easy to pick up and use right away,” says Saturday Bridges program director Moses Ajou. “It’s not so highly technical or complex that it requires special knowledge to get started—we can use it effectively right out of the box.” 

Photo credit: Ellen Morgan of South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

Photo credit: Ellen Morgan of South Sudanese Enrichment for Families

In addition to the classroom experiences in the Saturday Bridges program, SSEF also provides tutors for STEM enrichment and to support adults in advancing English skills, expanding job readiness or pursuing higher education. They are always looking for more volunteers. Call 781-322-0063 or email southsudaneseboston@gmail.com for more details.

Engineering is Elementary is a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy at the http://www.mos.org/. You can read more about what they’re up to on their blog.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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