Evanston, IL (PRWEB) April 09, 2014
The McGaw YMCA in partnership with Y.O.U., and Northwestern University’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP), has received $110,000 of funding from a long-time supporter, the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation, as a part of a potentially larger grant, to design a space in its building for teens and pre-teens.
A team of representatives from each of the three initial partnering organizations is managing the redesign and renovation of what is now the Youth Lobby. Each organization has made a unique, long-term commitment to this effort. “Jointly we are creating a space at the McGaw YMCA where youth can transform their lives and their community, and we are grateful to the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation for conceiving of and supporting this project, and for the participation of the partnering organizations,” said Monique Parsons, COO, McGaw YMCA.
“The collaboration between McGaw YMCA, Y.O.U., and OSEP will create a transformative learning space in Evanston that is informed by research on youth learning, motivation, and engagement at Northwestern,” said Dr. Kemi Jona, Research Professor, Learning Sciences and Computer Science at Northwestern University and Director of the Office of STEM Education Partnerships.
The goal is to create a youth-centric digital media and hangout space that engages a diverse group of 6th-8th graders. The project team is committed to designing a space that appeals to youth from across Evanston who might otherwise lack out-of-school opportunities, and connect them to peers, adult mentors, and the broader community.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the YMCA and Northwestern to develop a vital space in our community that will deeply engage and excite the minds of our youth,” commented Seth Green, Executive Director, Y.O.U. “We truly believe this space will enable us both to engage new youth and to elevate our impact among those we already serve.”
The new youth space will embody the principles of connected learning, and hook youth on learning and skill-building through fun, flexible, and experiential activities, such as FUSE, a program of Northwestern University, which provides fun, hands-on activities that connect the existing interests of youth to real-world STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts/Design, and Math) tools and practices.
While the project team pursues additional funding to complete the physical build out and to support programming, Christian Long, co-founder of WONDER, has been hired to facilitate the concept design process. The project team is currently seeking an architectural firm and will collaborate with Designs for Dignity on the project’s second phase, transforming the physical space into an environment that fosters learning and personal growth.
Y.O.U. (Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc.) is a youth development agency that has been providing services and leadership to meet the emerging needs of young people and their families in Evanston, IL for more than 40 years. For more information on Y.O.U., visit http://www.youevanston.org
FUSE is an interest-driven learning model created by Jona and his colleague Dr. Reed Stevens at Northwestern University to engage pre-teens and teens in (STEAM) topics while fostering the development of important 21st century skills, including adaptive problem solving, creativity, self-directed learning, and persistence. More information on FUSE is available at http://www.fusestudio.net.
The McGaw YMCA is a cause-driven, charitable organization that seeks to strengthen community with a focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, and offers a number of substantive programs for children and teens to support them academically, emotionally, and socially. Through these programs, the McGaw YMCA has positively impacted the Evanston community for more than 127 years. For more information on the McGaw YMCA, visit http://www.mcgawymca.org.