Written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern
Children are often asked the question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Future Focus Foundation works with K-12 educators to encourage students to choose a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) related career for that answer.
FFF provides STEM education initiatives by partnering with regional and state business professionals to showcase the STEM work that they are doing with our region’s educators. The 2022 and 2023 Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation (GLCF) helped rekindle STEM Outreach with educators and their students.
The Future Focus Foundation began in early 2000 with Region 2000 business and education leaders interested in strengthening the STEM career pipeline through Central Virginia Community College’s career tech focus. In 2009, FFF was formally organized to be a 501(c)(3).
While they work to encourage students in the XLR8 STEM Academy and Central Virginia Regional Science Fair, the FFF board members also work to connect teachers with STEM partners in our region to provide professional development and fun learning opportunities and mini grants.
Happening in February, FFF will be kicking off their first teacher event of the year where local businesses will share current examples of energy tools and tips that they can take back to their classrooms.
- February 29, 4:15-6:00 p.m. CVCC Merritt Hall: STEM Professional Development for K-12 Educators
The Foundation is looking for volunteers for several upcoming events, including the Region 2000 KidWind Challenge at Randolph College’s SciFest.
KidWind is a national organization that hosts wind turbine building competitions to teach renewable energy. The Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy (CASE) throughout Virginia. FFF is very excited to bring this opportunity to Central Virginia. Volunteers of any background can assist with set up, take down, and leading teams. There are also three stations that prefer volunteers who are teachers, retired professionals, college STEM students or have a STEM background. The FFF’s GLCF 2023 grant funds are used to support the new Region 2000 KidWind Challenge.
This event is also available for the public to come and watch and learn more about renewable energy.
- March 24, Randolph College: Volunteers for KidWind at SciFest
The Central Virginia Regional Science Fair, whose fiscal sponsor is FFF, is looking to recruit science-minded judges for three different science fair dates in the spring. More information is on the SHARE page below.
The FFF foundation’s current STEM programs for teachers are made possible by the GLCF’s grants. Over the past two years, over 60 teachers representing 18 public and two private schools involving approximately 3000 students in Central Virginia are benefiting from the STEM PD activities, mini classroom grants for teachers, and distribution of PocketLab sensors for data collection.
According to one middle school teacher, “We need more opportunities to grow with each other as we develop meaningful STEM learning experiences for our students. Thank you!”
Learn more about the Future Focus Foundation and stay up to date on their STEM initiatives by visiting their SHARE page.