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The 2016 Kansas STEM Mentoring Initiative (VGF) Grant

In 2009, Congress passed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (SAA), the most sweeping expansion of national service in a generation.  The SAA created the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) to develop and/or support community-based entities to recruit, manage, and support volunteers.  Through VGF grants, CNCS seeks to fund effective approaches that expand volunteering, strengthen the capacity of volunteer connector organizations, and develop strategies to effectively use volunteers to solve problems.

The Kansas Volunteer Commission will provide grant funds available under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to increase the number of STEM mentors serving the youth of Kansas, through the Kansas STEM Mentoring Initiative (VGF) Grant.

According to the US Department of Commerce, STEM jobs in the United States, in the past ten years, have grown at three times the pace of non-STEM jobs.  Additionally, eighty percent of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend upon the mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills.  Yet, it is estimated that by 2018 there will be 1.2 million US job openings in STEM fields, with a significant shortage of qualified applicants to fill them (US2020).  Investing in STEM education and sparking the STEM interest in students is necessary to ensure that our youth not only become interested in STEM careers, but are fully prepared when they embark on the college and career pathway to attain their STEM job.



Basehor-Linwood USD 458

Basehor-Linwood USD 458 will be implementing a program for our students k-12, community members and teachers to discover how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum and projects can be used to empower our students through the use of STEM.  Our program will encourage/challenge our students to prepare for the 21st Century careers and beyond.  We will create a Makerspace that will encourage mentors from our classrooms and community to help support the discovery of STEM careers.  By using mentors and a 21st Century Makerspace we will be able to help challenge our students to think outside the box through the use of discovery and exploration.  The Makerspace will support our Google 20% Projects in our Career and Technical Education Pathways at the high school and be used as a tool to recruit mentors to help our students.



Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence

The Boys & Girls Club STEM Mentoring program will pair caring adults from different community partners with students in STEM Clubs during the after-school program.  Mentors will be recruited and trained to provide planned STEM activities during Club times.  Both students and mentors will work together to complete tasks and project through STEM kits and additional curriculum.



Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, Inc.

Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters (KSBBBS) is in a position where we have a tremendous impact on the development and success of Kansas youth.  With support from the Kansas STEM Mentoring Initiative (VGF) and matching funds, KSBBBS will serve 70 at-risk youth in seven locations across Kansas by partnering with local universities/community college STEM departments and STEM corporations for the recruitment of mentors and the delivery of STEM education opportunities.  Our overall goal is to further develop our STEM model to include a more innovative, solution-seeking strategy that will not only improve educational outcomes, but will also introduce youth to STEM professions that are projected to experience employee shortages over the next decade--especially careers within the science and engineering fields.  KSBBBS' approach to reaching this goal is to implement the STEM Activity Guide and also develop a staff and mentor training component to better equip those who are working directly with the youth.



Olathe Public Schools Foundation

STEM Connection is a multi-tiered mentoring program connecting low income (Title 1) middle school girls with high school girls, university and professional women all studying or working in STEM fields.  We are literally Girls Mentoring Girls Mentoring Girls!  the mission of STEM Connection is to encourage and inspire girls to nourish their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) throughout middle school and into high school, college and beyond.  We will accomplish this by connecting middle school girls with high school girls that have strong STEM interests, as well as university STEM majors and professional women is STEM careers.  During face-to-face mentoring sessions, high school girls will lead engaging and hands-on STEM activities, as university and professional women mentors work alongside their middle school mentees and participate in the activities with them.  This dynamic collective of "girls" will come together sharing stories, collaborating on designing, building and problem-solving and most importantly, cultivating relationships.  E-mentoring will be used to further facilitate relationship building outside of the face-to-face meetings.  Our vision is that these relationships will serve to inspire mentees to continue their pursuit of STEM in the future, and encourage mentors to continue to share the importance and value of a STEM education and career.



United Way of Franklin County Association

United Way of Franklin County Association (UWFCA) has a network of business and corporate partnerships which put it in a unique position to take on challenging volunteer initiatives.  Currently, UWFCA persuades employees from these partnerships to volunteer to use their STEM training and experiences to mentor and tutor youth (STEM United Youth Project mentors are required to have STEM careers, degrees or certifications).  The project goal is to encourage STEM academic achievement and foster STEM career interests in Franklin County youth.  UWFCA will expand the United Youth Project model KVC supported in 2015.  Expansion will include more STEM mentor programs, tutors and one-to-one mentors.  UWFCA will recruit, interview, screen, train and place STEM professionals in appropriate mentoring roles.  UWFCA will work with member agencies to identify youth in need of STEM mentors and will partner with agencies to conduct mentoring program oversight.

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