Grant promotes STEM to youth

December 19, 2018

A $50,000 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana will allow it to create its first-ever STEM programming initiative : the NIPSCO Academy: Mentoring Youth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

During an announcement Tuesday, Northern Indiana Public Service Co. presented the $50,000 contribution from the NiSource Charitable Foundation.

The grant will allow Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana to introduce STEM activities to children enrolled in the Big Futures mentoring program, which caters specifically to at-risk youth ages 13 to 22 and focuses on intentional preparation for college, career or military, the agency said.

The grant will provide the materials, kits and technology for a series of monthly workshops for one year, giving youths with the greatest need and least opportunity the ability to foster an interest in STEM programs.

“We want to provide exposure to STEM in a fun and unique way. STEM is something not often offered to our Littles. More than 33 percent of our Littles are ages 13-22 : a great age to introduce STEM,” said Josette Rider, CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana.

“All of the children we provide services to are full of potential and when placed in a one-to-one learning environment with their Big, they display a unique desire and ability to learn.

“There is a strong need to help kids explore career options, and with the help of NIPSCO and the NiSource Charitable Foundation, this initiative will not only provide a head start on educating but also ignite an interest in these fields, uncovering untapped talent within a demographic of children not significantly and purposefully exposed to STEM.”

Jennifer Montague, NIPSCO vice president of communications and external affairs, said the company is “committed to preparing the next generation with the tools they need to succeed.”

“As such, we are pleased to support the NIPSCO Academy in support of STEM programming taught through one-on-one mentoring, a critical component to education.”

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