While Schools and Lawmakers Seek Funding for STEM Programs, Destination ImagiNation has Involved Youth in STEM for Years

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It seems that legislators and school officials in all 50 states are wringing their hands as they seek funding for programs that help American youth excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). And yet, for decades, Destination ImagiNation has been immersing kids in STEM challenges that help them learn to love STEM, and prepare for the competitive global marketplace they will face in the future. DI's STEM challenges can be models for our school systems.

While schools and legislators struggle with STEM funding, Destination ImagiNation has immersed kids in STEM for years.

There is a clear irony in the headlines these days. While the media is widely reporting that legislators and school districts are struggling to find funding and resources to implement programs promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Destination ImagiNation, a leading global non-profit, has been involving hundreds of thousands of youth in STEM for decades.

Destination ImagiNation, the world's largest creative program for kids, every year involves student teams from the U.S. and all over the world in creative problem solving challenge competitions that motivate them to develop creative, innovative solutions to problems that require them to apply all of the skills associated with STEM. While they are learning these 21st century skills, they also are building their self-confidence, and learning teamwork, communication, innovation and leadership skills. Artistic expression and story-telling are integral components of each challenge.

All Destination ImagiNation (DI) challenges that connect to science, technology, engineering and math meet National Educational Standards. And, a study last year by the University of Virginia concluded that youth who have been involved in Destination ImagiNation's challenge programs are more creative and better at problem solving than kids who have not experienced the Destination ImagiNation Program.

Destination ImagiNation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that involves more than 100,000 youth on 15,000 teams in the U.S., Canada and 16 countries around the world annually. Each year, these teams have the opportunity to showcase their solutions at country and state tournaments, with some teams participating at the annual Global Finals each May. We have more than 1.5 million former DI team participants -- alumni -- who have participated in DI and have gone on to be successful in business in life. They largely credit DI for their success.

"While the headlines indicate many in education and government are just discovering the value of STEM, Destination ImagiNation has known for years that kids, who are exposed early to the STEM activities and problem solving challenges, have an advantage in getting into college and getting good jobs later on. Employers tell us this often, and we have some of the nation's largest companies as our strategic partners," declared Chuck Cadle, M.Ed., CEO of Destination ImagiNation.

Finally, Destination ImagiNation is the only extra-curricular program that ties back directly to the classroom, and complements and enriches what is taught in the classroom.

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Andy Bowen
Cleaview Communications + PR Inc.
(813) 374-3735
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