OUR LEARN 2 TEACH, TEACH 2 LEARN PROGRAM engages our Boston youth with creative technologies in order to inspire more to enter the science, technology, engineering and math fields that fuel our local innovation economy. Our social innovation goal is to create a critical mass of 35,000 youth engaged with creative technologies and sciences whose accomplishment catalyzes community cultural change about the possibilities for STEM achievement and careers. Since 2007, we have provided meaningful work, an MIT education experience, and opportunity for community service to over 300 teenagers. These youth have offered free summer and after school STEM enrichment programming to over 3000 youth in City of Boston housing developments, community centers, and youth agencies located in neighborhoods most in need of educational resources.
There is an imminent shortage of professionals in science, technology and engineering in the United States. Our youth of color represent an untapped potential for rejuvenating these fields. By developing a network of near peer mentors of color, we can make steps towards closing and filling the gaps in schools and in the STEM field.
LEARN 2 TEACH, TEACH 2 LEARN grew out of a recognition that over 85% of Boston public school students are youth of color. Boston students are faced with a troubling convergence of underperforming schools, persistent achievement gaps along lines of race/ ethnicity and income, a culture that does not reward academic success, and lack of access to the latest science and technology ideas and tools. Conventional approaches to STEM learning in schools are not working well for our youth of color. Creating an out of school time STEM enrichment activities produces positive outcomes to include an increase in academic achievement and higher likelihood of graduation and pursuit of a career in the STEM arena.
Many of our youth teachers are bilingual (French, Kreole, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese) and are represented in all Boston neighborhoods and schools. We maintain an equal balance of young men
and women with a wide range of academic
Each year our LEARN 2 TEACH, TEACH 2 LEARN
program hires 25-35 teenaged youth teachers to learn, build and teach with creative
technologies. Youth teachers spend 4 hours each Saturday from April to June learning computer and physical programming, digital design and fabrication, energy alternatives, eTextiles and graphic design through handson activities. In July and August they work 20-24 hours per week. In the first part of the summer, they work in small teams to imagine, design and build a project that solves a community issue they think important. In the second part of the summer youth teachers take their enthusiasm for creative technologies out to 20+ housing developments, community centers and youth agencies teaching what they have learned in free 3week summer camps for 500 + elementary and middle school youth. Youth teachers get children
involved in such activities as making their own animations and games, building kinetic sculptures that spin when you clap, programming a banana peel to play music, building a model fuelcell car, building a “squishy circuit” powered by solar cells and using graphic design to make 3D characters. During the school year, some youth teachers offer free after school programming in some of the same community organizations.