Thanks to donors, STEM camps get a boost

The Eden Prairie Community Foundation supports local projects that fill needs in Eden Prairie through the community impact grant program. Earlier this year, Talon Robotics was awarded a grant to purchase materials for their summer camp program. These camps provide a robotics experience for children grades 1 through 8.

“We are trying to inspire younger kids,” says team mentor Sandy Olson. The aim of the robotics summer camps is to engage young Eden Prairie students in robotics and to provide a STEM-based opportunity for learning. The summer camp not only provides important outreach to students new to robotics but is also a fundraising opportunity for the high school Talon Robotics team as well.

With the Foundation grant funds, Talon Robotics was able to purchase integral electronic components that allowed students to learn about building, programming and coding robots. The grant provided the program enough computer units for all participants, which gave each camper a hands-on experience that had been lacking in previous years.

The Talon Robotics camp was successful in its endeavor to draw Eden Prairie youth interested in STEM, an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math. The summer camp program had 48 students in attendance with 10 of the students being young females. In addition to the campers, the Talon Robotics high school-age students host the event. The camps create an opportunity for the older students to learn how to be leaders as well as give them teaching experience, says Olson.

Like the Foundation, Talon Robotics is interested in making an impact on the residents of Eden Prairie. Talon Robotics mentor Joe Wenc stated, “With EPCF’s support, Talon can spread the importance of STEM fields to younger students in fun and engaging ways, paving the way for the next generation of problem solvers who can give back to their communities.”

Talon Robotics is one example of the impact made by Foundation donors. The Foundation receives many worthy grant applications and has to evaluate and choose the ones that will be funded each grant season. With your financial support, the Foundation can grow its grants program.

To donate to the Foundation, please visit the “Donate” page on this website or participate in the Nov. 15, 2018 “Give to the Max Day” by going to givemn.org and searching “Eden Prairie Community Foundation.” If you donate before Jan. 1, 2019 your donation could be doubled, as the Foundation leadership has pledged to match the first $10,000 donated by community members between now and year-end. The match applies to unrestricted donations made toward the Foundation’s own programs and operation.

(This blog post was written by the Foundation’s fall 2018 intern.)

Mark Weber About the Author Mark Weber has been the executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation since October 2013. In this role, he enjoys meeting with Eden Prairie residents, and being an active member of the community. If you’d like to connect with Mark, call him at (952) 949-8499 or email him. You can also read Mark’s full biography.

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