The Boys &Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula have received two federal grants from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Programs to implement two unique mentoring programs.
The Sea Research Foundation in Mystic, Conn. selected the Boys &Girls Clubs to participate in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for a second year after a successful inaugural year.
“I really see the value in this program because it shows the opportunity of STEM careers here in the community,” said Brandon Gustafson, Mentoring Coordinator at the Boys &Girls Clubs.
The STEM program is divided into separate modules, each covering a different facet of STEM learning. The first module, which began in mid-February, teaches the children basic robotics by utilizing legos and lessons on animals and their habitats.
“They’re learning about basic mechanics and engineering,” Gustafson said.
Through the grant, the Boys &Girls Clubs were given six Google Chromebooks loaded with STEM related software that are intuitively built for students. The programs utilize drag and drop tools and “it engages kids who can’t really read yet,” Gustafson said.
Following the robotics module, the students will move forward and learn about math with the help of baseball. Then they will focus on water conservation.
“This was made for Kenai, it was made for the peninsula and it’s an awesome opportunity for the future,” Gustafson said.
The National Crime Prevention Council also selected the Boys &Girls Clubs for a grant focusing on at-risk youth in the Kenai Peninsula communities.
Through the program, at-risk mentees are paired with an adult from the community in order to build a positive relationship in the mentees’ lives. The program began this year and is in it’s third week but, according to Gustafson, the Boys &Girls Clubs are still in need of volunteers.
“This is crime prevention,” Gustafson said. “You walk outside and see that Kenai has problems, we can’t deny that. This is something we can do to improve it.”
Contact Brandon Gustafson at 283-2682 for more information on the Boys &Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula and becoming a mentor.
Reach Kat Sorensen at email@example.com.