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STEM center opens at Boys & Girls Club

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --- Children work on an electrical experiment while attending the opening of Raytheon's Stem Center of Innovation at the Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, CO Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Courtesy AP Images for Boys & Girls Club of America)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --- Children work on an electrical experiment while attending the opening of Raytheon's Stem Center of Innovation at the Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, CO Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Courtesy AP Images for Boys & Girls Club of America)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- With the intent of inspiring military children to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pikes Peak Region opened a Center of Innovation April 27, at its E. A. Tutt location on South Chelton Road in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“The event was an outstanding display of community partnerships with various agencies from the Mayor's office, local tech companies, Peterson Child and Youth Programs actively involved in establishing the STEM Center and promising to work together in the future,” said Chett Kline, Peterson Air Force Base Airman & Family Readiness Center services flight chief. “This Center will give another opportunity for Peterson families to broaden their understanding of STEM and how it could help define their futures.”

The state-of-the-art center is the ninth of 22 locations in the U.S. and abroad that are made possible by a $5 million grant from Raytheon Company, according to a Boys & Girls Clubs release.

The center will provide military youth access to advanced technologies to stimulate creative approaches to STEM exploration, such as: a robotics demo to learn how to build and program their own robot; balloon rocket launches to better understand the transfer of energy; build a glow stick by making an electrical circuit; and floating boats to see how many pennies a boat can carry without sinking to test the forces of gravity versus buoyancy.

A full-time STEM expert will offer individual and group support at the center using real-world applications to help program participants develop STEM skills and critical thinking. In the U.S., STEM jobs are expected to grow nearly twice as fast as those in any other field by 2018, according to The U.S. Department of Commerce.

“We’re proud to offer a safe, familiar place for military youth to explore opportunities in STEM education,” said James Sullivan, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pikes Peak Region president and CEO. “With this new Center of Innovation, we’ll be able to help build even more confidence and curiosity among these amazing kids and teens, whether they ultimately decide to pursue a career in STEM or explore another interest area.”

Since more than 2 million American children have parents in the military, and military families tend to move every two to four years, the Center of Innovation in a military community like Colorado Springs is meant to ensure youth have access to advanced resources to help instill confidence and curiosity in pursuing a career in STEM, according to a release form the Boys & Girls Clubs.

Boys & Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region began serving the community in 1888 and serves approximately 1,300 youth.

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