Be a STEM Advocate, Support the Mission, Change the World
November 12, 2018
During November, FIRST in Texas is celebrating a month of giving! From our upcoming #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign to encouraging volunteers to lend their support, we’re excited to turn our focus to all the ways our community can help us grow. When you give your time, money, or knowledge to FIRST in Texas, you’re not only changing the lives of our student participants, you’re transforming the communities where they live.
Individuals, organizations, and members of the community can:
- Help meet critical financial needs by donating to support FIRST® programs and events in Texas or directly sponsoring a robotics team
- Share time and knowledge by mentoring a robotics team or volunteering at events
- Provide other crucial resources and support (ask us how)
When everyone comes together, you enable workforce readiness and stronger communities.
Do You Want to Become a STEM Advocate?
If you haven’t been a STEM advocate, but want to jump in, there’s a wealth of opportunity to help out. Ready to inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators in Texas?
Here are just a few ways to start:
School districts can fund robotics teams as well as transportation to robotics competition events. This kind of support is essential for STEM literacy to thrive. These teams and events are the very heart of FIRST in Texas.
Educators who want to inspire STEM literacy can become coaches and mentors for our teams. This is an exciting opportunity to encourage young innovators and spread STEM excitement among the younger generations.
If you have a facility or venue that’s perfect for robotics teams to practice or compete, consider contributing by hosting teams and events! This is a tangible way that you can ensure STEM Advocacy always has a place to thrive in Texas.
How Can You Support Your Future Workforce by Supporting STEM?
Giving to FIRST in Texas can ensure your future workforce is robust and highly trained! Use your company’s resources to foster a new generation of STEM employees. By providing corporate financial support through grants and sponsorships, your company can change young lives, strengthening communities, and, in turn, strengthening the future health of your company.
You can also give your employees valuable opportunities to volunteer at a FIRST in Texas event. Besides helping young scientists and engineers hone their skills, volunteers will find the team atmosphere and community bond of FIRST in Texas rewarding. (Our volunteers often talk about the new network of friends they’ve made through volunteering. Follow our Volunteer Spotlight series for more!)
Additionally, sharing in-kind resources through the use of your equipment and facilities is a fantastic way to make a difference. A good example is the Mobile Machine Shop out of Johnson Space Center from FIRST in Texas Partner, NASA. Each year employee volunteers can be found in the machine shop supporting teams at FIRST Robotics Competition events. This is one-way FIRST® participants are able to explore the exciting world of STEM through the larger-than-life scope of the Texas-based space agency.
How Can You Create a Stronger Local Community in Texas?
When schools, businesses, and communities come together, robotics teams thrive. And when robotics teams thrive, our local communities grow ever stronger:
- You are improving school performance. Students inspired by STEM are more likely to stay in school.
- You are improving the quality of life for students. Kids who enter STEM careers are able to change the trajectory of their family, thus change the trajectory for the community. In San Antonio, FIRST in Texas Partner, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Texas has partnered with local colleges to offer the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) work-study program. Once completed many program graduates are offered gainful employment at the South Texas plant. This is an example where STEM advocacy in the formative educational years translates directly to workforce readiness.
- Research such as this report from Business Insider shows how the pay scale for students increases when they attend STEM-focused institutions. One of our core on-going missions is to make participation in FIRST programs available to student across the state who have a desire to do so.
- Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates that professions will grow almost twice as fast as non-STEM occupations. By giving students STEM skills, you’re giving them a better chance of succeeding, which ends up strengthening the entire community.
How STEM Lifts Students Out of Poverty
In general, STEM has a transformational effect on the lives of students and their families. STEM is highly effective in lifting individuals and families out of poverty. As a 2017 WalletHub study shows:
“… STEM careers today comprise some of the most lucrative employment, paying higher salaries and boasting far fewer threats of unemployment compared with non-STEM jobs. In fact, the annual average wage for all STEM positions collectively was $85,570 — 81 percent more than the national average of $47,230 for all jobs.”
STEM skills are a central part of every aspect of living for students. A wide variety of fields are available to them in industries such as health, innovation, national security, and others. The opportunities are practically endless, and this is a key factor in getting households out of poverty.
Key findings at 36-month follow-up report shows the following attributes of STEM:
- FIRST® has a positive impact on participants on key STEM-related measures, including interest in STEM, involvement in STEM-related activities, STEM identity, STEM knowledge, and interest in STEM careers. FIRST® team members are 2.3 to 3.7 times more likely to show gains on STEM-related outcomes than students in the comparison group.
- The data continues to show positive impacts on participants from all three FIRST® programs. That includes participants in all major population groups and communities. Girls in FIRST® continued to show significantly greater impacts than their male counterparts.
- While all FIRST® participants show significant impacts relative to comparison students, team members who persist in FIRST® for more than one year show greater gains.
- Among first-year college students, FIRST® alumni report significantly higher interest in majoring in computer science, engineering, and robotics than comparison students and are 2.6 times more likely to take an engineering course.
Your Help Will Build Our Future!
With all the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the profound affect STEM has on young lives, it’s hard to contain our excitement for the future. With the combined help of grants, donated time, gifts, and simple word-of-mouth we can give our children a brighter future in a field that offers endless fun and fascination. Consider all of the ways you can make a difference in a student’s life, secure your company’s future workforce, or bring strength and vitality to your community and consider joining us.
From direct donations to signing up as an event volunteer or setting up a local grant, there are numerous opportunities to help our students thrive. We’re also thrilled to partner with Amazon Smile, a great way to trigger passive donations to your favorite non-profit (us!) while you complete your holiday shopping. And, as always, our website is a great place to make a direct donation anytime. Looking to make a meaningful impact across the entire state or interested in hyper-focused giving to your local community? Speak with our development team to learn how your giving initiatives can be tailor-made to align with your corporate or foundation giving mission.
In whatever way you choose to invest and support the mission of FIRST® in the state of Texas, we invite you to join us for a month of giving. Let’s inspire the next generation of workforce-ready Texans!