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If you have a child who tinkers, plays with technology, or whose favorite word is “why,” then you need to know The STEM Alliance! The STEM Alliance is a Westchester County nonprofit creating a network of STEM learning opportunities for children and adults. With STEM jobs (in science, technology, engineering and math) growing at an accelerated pace, there is high demand for skilled graduates. The STEM Alliance is growing the next generation of STEM leaders! More importantly, kids love their programming.
The Alliance’s programs appeal to kids’ natural curiosity. From robotics to physics, biology to coding — there is something for all ages and interests. 20% of program seats offer scholarships, providing equal access to low-income children. Learning opportunities start as early as pre-K and go beyond high school. Their Girls DO series helps girls find their STEM passion and keeps them engaged through the upper grades. Many of their programs can be adapted for students with disabilities.
The STEM Alliance was launched in 2013 by a group of moms who could not find engaging programs for their science-minded kids. They made their mark with STEM-tastic, a free STEM festival that offers dozens of hands-on learning experiences and draws over 1,000 attendees annually. The event buzzes with activity as participants touch, build and explore. Although postponed in 2020, the STEM Alliance is looking forward to hosting STEM-tastic again in Spring 2022.
With activities suspended due to the health crisis, The STEM Alliance turned their attention to a wide range of pandemic-related problems. They helped organize food distributions, raised funds to help local makers create PPE (personal protective equipment) for frontline workers, and launched a one-to-one virtual mentoring program to support low-income children with distance learning. “We knew we had to help, so we put our skills to work,” says STEM Alliance President Meg Käufer. “Our strength is our ability to create innovative programs and handle large-scale logistics. STEM is all about solving problems and thinking creatively. We put our beliefs into action.”
The pandemic underscored another problem impacting low-income families: the “digital divide.” Most of us take for granted our computers and internet access. But here in Westchester, there are over 30,000 homes with no computer and more than 50,000 with no internet. Recognizing a glaring need, The STEM Alliance launched Digital Equity Now which provides a device, a hotspot and 15 hours of tech education to qualifying participants. The Alliance is partnering with other Westchester nonprofits to serve clients with high digital distress. Funded by donations and grants — including funding from Westchester County — Digital Equity Now is the only program in the County that combines device ownership and internet access with tech education, leading to improved job opportunities, telehealth access and more.
The STEM Alliance is back to business with programs that include:
- Family Tinkering Nights
- After school classes for libraries, PTAs, and other organizations
- Pop-Up workshops for school vacations
- Online & in-person classes
- Events, fundraisers & more
For more information on their programs or to volunteer, visit www.theSTEMalliance.org.