Quake Energy grant helps launch LEGO robotics program

Did you know 75 percent of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences say their passion for science was sparked in a non-school setting?

Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, which offers after-school programs at 15 sites, is hoping to create such a spark with an initiative designed to inspire innovative thinking and career readiness among members. A $5,000 investment by Quake Energy, an Ohio natural gas supplier, is allowing BGCC to launch a LEGO Robotics program in partnership with Northeast Ohio Robotics Alliance.

BGCC intends to form up to five robotics teams at its school-based sites. The teams – made up of youth ages 9-14 – will assemble robots and compete in the FIRST LEGO League, an international program.

Members of the Garfield Heights Club recently attended a NEOBots camp, at which they were exposed to robotics, problem-solving and the FLL. Other Clubs scheduled to participate in the program this fall include Broadway, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Luis Munoz Marin, Walton and Saint Luke’s.

“We are extremely excited about this program and are grateful for the support of Quake Energy,” said Ron Soeder, BGCC president and CEO. “We are building a robust, high-quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program here at Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland in partnership with Cleveland Metropolitan School District. This initiative is part of that program.”

Soeder said STEM skills are necessary for navigating in the modern world and competing in today’s job market. He said the LEGO robotics program not only helps teach those skills but also allows kids to experience cooperative competition and build relationships across socioeconomic divides.

BGCC is a for-impact organization providing after-school and summer programs for youth ages 6-18 in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland and Garfield Heights. By providing programs focusing on academic success, good character and citizenship and healthy lifestyles, Clubs have helped generations of young people achieve the great futures they deserve.